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Surescripts’ e-prescribing report: Internists, family docs, small practices leading the way

Last week Surescripts released its annual report on the state of e-prescribing. I think you’ll find the summary quite valuable as it illustrates the impact of Meaningful Use Stage 1 on providers and the industry.  Here are the high points from the report: Meaningful Use By the end of 2011, 58% of office-based physicians in […]

Last week Surescripts released its annual report on the state of e-prescribing.

I think you’ll find the summary quite valuable as it illustrates the impact of Meaningful Use Stage 1 on providers and the industry.  Here are the high points from the report:

Meaningful Use

  • By the end of 2011, 58% of office-based physicians in the United States had adopted electronic prescribing – vs. less than 10% a little more than 3 years prior.
  • Research suggests that the federal incentives for meaningful use of e-prescribing are well founded.
  • As physicians gain more experience with e-prescribing, the data shows that they use it more.
  • Prescribers who began e-prescribing in 2008 showed a 4X increase in e-prescriptions sent between 2008-2011.
  • In the case of prescribers who adopted e-prescribing in 2008, the majority have met the standard for the Stage 1 Meaningful Use e-prescribing measure – over a third have already met the proposed 2014 Edition Meaningful Use measure.

Physician Adoption

Primary care docs have achieved high levels of adoption.

  • Internists (81%)
  • Family practitioners (75%)

Eleven different specialties have achieved adoption rates of 60 percent or more, including:

  •  Endocrinologists (78%)
  • Cardiologists (76%)
  • Gastroenterologists (69%)
  • Urologists (68%)
  • Opthalmologists (67%)

Contradicting many survey-based studies on health IT adoption, the report shows e-prescribing adoption is highest among smaller practices:

  • 6 to 10 physicians (55%)
  • 2 to 5 physicians (53%)

In 2011, the most significant growth in physician adoption of e-prescribing occurred among and solo practitioners – from 31% in 2010 to 46% in 2011.

Overall E-Prescribing Use

  • The number of electronic prescriptions in 2011 grew to 570 million, up from 326 million e-prescriptions in 2010.
  •  By the end of 2011, an estimated 36% of prescriptions dispensed were routed electronically, up from 22% at the end of 2010.
  • Electronic responses for prescription benefit information grew 87% in 2011.
  • Electronic medication history deliveries increased 72% in 2011.
  • Approximately 31% of patient visits generated an electronically delivered medication history in 2011.

Medication Adherence

In 2011, Surescripts partnered with PBMs and retail pharmacies to compare the effectiveness of e-prescriptions and paper prescriptions on first fill medication adherence.

The data showed a consistent 10% increase in patient first fill medication adherence (i.e., new prescriptions that were picked up by the patient) among physicians who adopted e-prescribing technology.
The analysis suggests that the increase in first fill medication adherence combined with other e-prescribing benefits could, over the next 10 years, lead to between $140 billion and $240 billion in health care cost savings and improved health outcomes.

Thanks to Surescripts for doing this research.  It’s clear that the trajectory for e-prescribing is very positive.

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