The push for medical facilities to further integrate new technologies into their daily operations is becoming stronger all the time. With meaningful use requirements and electronic health records (EHRs) gaining ground, it's not surprising that more doctors are finding new systems helpful.
According to a new report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), nearly half of all U.S. physicians are using e-prescribing features in an electronic health record through the Surescripts network.
The information is based on numbers from Surescripts, the e-prescription network that 95 percent of U.S. community pharmacies use to route prescriptions, excluding closed systems such as Kaiser Permanente.
"While just 7 percent of U.S. physicians used e-prescribing as of December 2008, 48 percent were doing so by June 2012," according to an analysis by FierceHealthIT News. "Massachusetts (77 percent), New Hampshire (74 percent), and Iowa (73 percent) had the highest rate of physicians [utilizing] e-prescribing through an EHR."
Furthermore, community pharmacies enabled to accept e-prescriptions increased from 76 percent in December 2008 to 94 percent in June 2012. Nationwide, the average rate is at least 88 percent of facilities using e-prescription software.
E-prescription software can help reduce many clerical errors - such as incoherent handwriting leading to wrong doses of medication. Additionally, reports have found it to be beneficial in an inpatient setting, as it saves time and money.
There is still much room for improvement, as the states with the highest volume of prescriptions - New York, Texas, Florida, California - are still below the national average of sending new and renewal prescriptions electronically.
Medical facilities should partner with a healthcare consultant who specializes in healthcare IT consulting. That way, all employees can be properly trained in evolving technical systems, which will ensure that an organization remains profitable and keeps patients safe.