One in Three Physicians Are Now E-Prescribing

September 21, 2010
Terri Cullen

The state of Massachusetts ranked No. 1 of the Top 10 states in the use of electronic prescriptions last year, according to new survey. Nationwide, about one out of three healthcare professionals have adopted e-prescribing.

The state of Massachusetts was No. 1 in the use of electronic prescriptions last year, according to new survey by Surescripts, an electronic prescribing network provider. Prescribers in the Bay State sent more than 11 million prescriptions electronically in 2009, or about 32 percent of all prescriptions written in the state, Surescripts announced.

The study ranked how states measured up by three critical steps: electronically confirming a patient’s prescription benefit information prior to sending the eprescription; electronically cross-referencing a patient’s medication history with pharmacies and payers; and electronically routing a prescription to the patient’s choice of pharmacy, Surescripts said.

The Top 10 States for E-Prescribing were:

1. Massachusetts

2. Michigan

3. Rhode Island

4. Delaware

5. North Carolina

6. Connecticut

7. Pennsylvania

8. Hawaii

9. Indiana

10. Florida

Florida, Hawaii, and Indiana were all new to this year’s Top 10 list. (To see how your state fared, click here.) Nationwide, more than 200,000 office-based prescribers -- or one out of every three physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants -- are now use e-prescribing, Surescripts said.

“As we have seen today, electronic prescribing is a valuable health IT tool for a rapidly growing number of healthcare providers,” Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “The shift from the traditional paper prescription pad to a secure, electronic format has improved the efficiency, accuracy and quality of the prescription process for both providers and patients.”

The move away from paper to e-prescribing has been promoted, in part, by up to $27 billion in federal stimulus funds the government hopes will push doctors into adopting electronic medical records. By 2015, the carrot will be replaced by the stick and doctors who haven’t adopted EHR will face penalties.