There has been a lot of talk over the last 6 months regarding e-prescribing (eRx) and what is needed to drive adoption. Today, adoption of eRx practices is about as bad as physician adoption of EMR. Now that Medicare is looking to push eRx, it is really starting to get the attention of physicians as this has the potential to directly hit their bottom-line.
But some common and very real arguments from physicians have been:
- The evidence is inconclusive as to how effective eRx truly is in minimizing adverse drug events.
- eRx systems often do not work as promised, ultimately creating more work for the physician.
- Without an ability to write eRx for controlled substances, the physician is left to juggle two systems simultaneously; paper scripts for controlled substances, and eRx for other medications.
- The benefits of using eRx are not typically seen by the physician but by the payer.
But within the week, two big things have happened that may alleviate a couple of these concerns.
Last week, the DEA (I’m sure under a lot of pressure from HHS) released proposed regulations for eRx of controlled substances. This will address problem number 3.
Today, the two big eRx services, RxHub and SureScripts announced that they will merge. This will help address problem number 2.
Combining these two with the aforementioned changes to Medicare reimbursement has real potential to drive physician adoption of digital systems such as eRx and more broadly, EMR.
This is excellent news for the consumer as it has the real potential to drive adoption and use of digital systems in the physician’s office thus liberating clinical information from a paper-based system to one that is digital. Once in a digital format, the consumer will be in a better position to take direct control of their personal health records.