Electronic prescribing in the U.S. is becoming mainstream, with e-prescribing use by physicians quadrupling since 2008.  Medication adherence is increasing as a result of increased use of eRx.

The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare Year 2011, a report by Surescripts, provides interesting information on e-prescription use, adoption, and impact on medication adherence. It includes analysis of e-prescribing and meaningful use.  The report, published alongside an online briefing and e-prescribing adoption map, found quadrupled use over four years for physicians beginning e-prescribing in 2008. The report also found a 10 percent increase in first fill medication adherence as a result of e-prescribing.

Key findings regarding uptake of eRx include:

  • Electronic responses for prescription benefit data increased 87 percent, electronic medication history delivery increased 72 percent, and nearly 36 percent of prescriptions were dispensed electronically in 2011.
  • Prescribers routing electronic prescriptions increased from 234,000 in 2010 to 390,000 in 2011.
  • More than two-thirds of all U.S. patients were provided with medication history and prescription benefit information at year end 2011.
  • Nearly 60 percent of physicians who initiated e-prescribing in 2008 meet the stage 1 meaningful use e-prescribing measure, and 38 percent would meet the proposed stage 2 e-prescribing measure.

Based on data gathered in collaboration with pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies comparing electronic with paper, faxed, or phoned prescriptions, physicians using e-prescribing technology increased patient first fill medication adherence by 10 percent. As a result, between $140 billion and $240 billion could be saved over a 10-year span through lower health care cost and improved health outcomes.

Federal and commercial eRx standards, the Medicare eRx payment incentives program for physicians, and increased attention by the Institute of Medicine and others to the problems of error-prone paper prescriptions and need for electronic prescribing, have encouraged physicians, clinics, and hospitals to adopt e-prescribing systems.

To read or download the full report, click here (PDF).