Physicians Embrace E-prescribing, Still Unconvinced about EMRs

Health IT incentives called for under health care reform are boosting e-prescribing adoption, but physicians are still skeptical about EMRs.

After about a year and a half of bluster in the news regarding health care reform, the wheels of change finally seem to be turning in ways that are evident to the casual observer. I hope the public at large is taking notice.

E-prescribing is on the upswing, according to a recent Reuter’s article. The use of electronic prescribing more than doubled in 2009 in 47 states, with e-prescribing now used by approximately one-third of US physicians.

The Reuters article discusses the EMR stimulus incentives included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a possible motive for the surge in e-prescribing, but clearly many physicians who are considering the conversion to electronic records are concerned over whether they will be able to qualify for the financial incentives. The (admittedly unscientific) poll results published by the EMR and HIPAA blog earlier this month show a mixed bag when it comes to physician confidence that the money will be coming to them as a result of EMR implementation.

Some physicians and hospital systems don’t appear to be moving ahead regardless. Healthcare IT News reported that the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has officially launched its program to certify EMRs for meaningful use and will announce its first round of certifications soon. CCHIT is one of three organizations recognized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as an Authorized Testing and Certification Body.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that the first wave of healthcare reform will take place this week. Read about it in the article’s Q&A section.