Is ePrescribing Ready to Deliver?

After years of hype and hard work, is ePrescribing finally mature enough for your provider partner’s practice?
For years ePrescribing has been hailed as a watershed development in the delivery and business of healthcare. Article upon article and study upon study have heralded it as faster, safer and more patient friendly than the traditional written prescription.

Yet, ePrescribing adoption has been slow and difficult until now. Numerous systems have been deployed with varying levels of success, but there is still resistance to the set-up costs, training and technology transition that comes along with ePrescribing. Many channel partners and their providers have seen the problems as too great, but is that tide starting to turn?

Increased Adoption
As vendors who offer ePrescribing modules have tailored their approach to fit the complex landscape of modern healthcare, provider adoption has seen a rapid rise. SureScripts®, a major transmitter of electronic prescriptions, reported that their system transmitted 22 million more prescriptions in 2007 than it did in 2006 due to increased provider adoption. On May 25, 2008, The New Orleans Times-Picayune recently reported experts predict the number of providers nationwide using ePrescribing to jump from 40,000 in 2007 to 85,000 by the end of 2008.

Future Mandates are Here Today
“This movement is only going to gain steam as government support for the financial and safety benefits grows: in 2007 U.S. Senators from both parties, with an endorsement from the President, united to introduce a bill which would penalize providers who did not adopt ePrescribing by 2011 by reducing their Medicare reimbursements. Several states, including Minnesota and Florida, have already passed legislation that requires providers to adopt ePrescribing by similar timeframes, or face financial penalties.

Many of these programs include financial incentives that help offset the initial investment for providers, so be sure to investigate whether your providerpartner may be eligible for reimbursements or tax breaks for implementing ePrescribing. As legislative support turns into demands, a flexible ePrescribing solution can help you stay ahead of the regulatory curve.

Reduced Up-front Investment
The price of many ePrescribing systems has recently become far more realistic for most provider budgets. When ePrescribing first arrived on the healthcare scene it was most commonly packaged with large practice management systems seeking to create an Electronic Medical Record. While these systems delivered great functionality, they were also a huge investment for any provider or provider group to make. To overcome this barrier, several highly reputable companies have created more affordable standalone modules. These ePrescribing modules can interface with nearly any Practice Management System to deliver results that are valuable for a much more affordable initial investment.

Ready to Deliver
The benefits ePrescribing will bring to the entire healthcare industry, are well known to us all. Everyone involved will benefit from the real-time checks for drug interactions, updated formulary compliance checking and reducing the chances of human error, but it is important to make sure the solutions are ready for the demands that will be placed on them. It is critical for providers to be completely comfortable in knowing that the ePrescribing module they choose is going to meet their needs and benefit both patients and the bottom line. With more and more providers finding solutions that fit the way they work, it is safe to say that ePrescribing is something every provider should be investigating now in order to be prepared for a bright future ahead.

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