Wednesday, October 8, 2008

eHealth Reports Available

A guide has just been published to help clinicians switch from paper to e-prescribing systems. According to eHI Chief Executive Officer Janet Marchibroda, The “Clinician’s Guide to Electronic Prescribing” will remove some of the mystery around e-prescribing and help physicians realize some of the many benefits e-prescribing can provide.

The guide was released at the CMS National e-Prescribing Conference held on October 7, 2008, in Boston to help clinicians make informed decisions on how and when to transition from paper to electronic prescribing systems. A multi-stakeholder Steering Group comprised of clinicians, consumers, employers, health plans, and pharmacies developed and worked in partnership with the eHealth Initiative (eHI), the AMA, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the Medical Group Management Association, and the Center for Improving Medication Management.

The guide meets the needs of two target audiences. The first section targets office-based clinicians who are new to the concept of e-prescribing and seek a basic understanding of what e-prescribing is, how it works, benefits, challenges, and the current environment impacting its widespread adoption. The second section targets office-based clinicians who are ready to move forward and bring e-prescribing into their practices. The guide presents fundamental questions and steps to follow in planning, selecting, and implementing the system.

Last June, the Center for Improving Medication Management released a report on e-prescribing and found:

  • More than 35 million prescription transactions were sent electronically in 2007, a 170 percent increase over the previous year
  • At the end of 2007, at least 35,000 prescribers were actively e-prescribing. Estimates indicate there will be at least 85,000 active users of e-prescribing by the end of 2008
  • While e-prescribing is growing rapidly, the adoption level at the end of 2007 represents only about six percent of the physicians
  • The biggest challenges to widespread adoption of e-prescribing by providers are financial burdens, workflow changes, the need for improved connectivity and technology, and the need for reconciled medication histories

For more information, on the guide and for other reports, go to

The State Alliance for e-Health in 2006 has published their findings in their inaugural report “Accelerating Progress: Using Health Information Technology and Electronic Health Information Exchange to Improve Care”. The State Alliance created by NGA’s Center for Best Practices with funding support from HHS worked with Governors, state policymakers, and other stakeholders to develop the report.

“We must harness our American ingenuity to bring about a technological revolution in America’s healthcare system,” said Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, co-chair of the State Alliance. “HIT and HIEs are essential tools in states’ efforts to control costs and improve healthcare in the U.S.”

The Alliance reports the challenges are:

  • High investment costs and concerns about revenue loss from lower productivity during the transition phase
  • Consumer concerns about the privacy and security of their data and lack of uniform privacy laws and data disclosure requirements governing electronic information exchange across states and jurisdiction
  • Variations in agreed-upon technical standards for interoperability and state professional licensure requirements
  • For publicly funded health programs to support HIT and electronic HIEs since they are encumbered by fragmented organizational structures, antiquated data systems, limited funds, and workforce constraints

For more information and to view the report, go to