Surescripts has announced the release of “The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare, Year 2011.” The National Progress Report features an analysis of data that tracks the status of e-prescribing adoption and use in the United States from 2008 – before the advent of federal incentives – through 2011. The report provides a measure of the actual adoption and use of e-prescribing nationwide, making it the only report of its kind in the U.S. The report also features two studies: one that measures the impact of e-prescribing on medication adherence; and a second that analyzes utilization of e-prescribing to determine the attainability for the e-prescribing measure in Stage 1 and Stage 2 (as proposed and if adopted today) of the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
By the end of 2011, 58 percent of office-based physicians were using e-prescribing. In terms of practice size, adoption rates are highest among smaller practices with six to 10 physicians (55 percent) and two to five physicians (53 percent). The most significant growth in physician adoption of e-prescribing occurred among solo practitioners – from 31 percent in 2010 to 46 percent in 2011. Among specialty groups, e-prescribing adoption rates are highest among internists (81%), endocrinologists (78%), cardiologists (76%) and family practitioners (75%).
Other highlights from the report include:
- The number of electronic prescriptions routed in 2011 grew to 570 million, up from 326 million
e-prescriptions in 2010. By the end of 2011, an estimated 36 percent of prescriptions dispensed were routed electronically, up from 22 percent at the end of 2010.
- A recently completed analysis shows that of the physicians who adopted and began using e-prescribing in 2008, up to 60 percent have successfully met the Stage 1 meaningful use e-prescribing measure and 38 percent of these early users would meet the proposed Stage 2 meaningful use e-prescribing measure if it were now in effect. The results also found that e-prescriptions per active e-prescriber increased over time. In first quarter 2008, the average was 49 per month. By fourth quarter 2011, the study group averaged 213 per month.
- In 2011, Surescripts partnered with pharmacy benefit managers and retail pharmacies to compare the effectiveness of e-prescriptions and paper prescriptions on first-fill medication adherence. The data showed a consistent 10 percent 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.
“Beyond the significant gains in adoption, our research indicates that the longer physicians e-prescribe – the more they e-prescribe,” said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. “The findings are an early indicator that the meaningful use objectives for e-prescribing appear to be set at a level that was attainable for the majority of providers. This should serve as an encouraging sign for regulators as they look to raise the bar on meaningful use measures in ways that continue to lower costs and improve the quality of the nation’s healthcare system.”
In addition to tracking numerous measures of health IT adoption and use, the report discusses the future of e-prescribing, the value of prescription benefit information and how industry collaboration is driving continuous improvements in electronic prescription quality. For a downloadable copy of “The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare, Year 2011,” go to www.surescripts.com/report.