U.S. Report Finds Electronic Prescribing Cuts Errors, Cost

A Medicare pilot project shows beneficiaries get better care with e-prescribing

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic prescribing cuts medication costs and reduces prescribing errors, according to a report on a Medicare e-prescribing pilot project released by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to Congress this week.

The pilot project included five sites operating in eight states and was conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The findings support adoption of the new electronic prescription standards required by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

"Electronic prescribing improves efficiencies while helping to eliminate potentially harmful drug interactions and other medication problems," Michael Leavitt, Secretary for Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "It also solves the problem of hard-to-read handwritten prescriptions. Additionally, such health information technologies promote affordability by allowing physicians to know which medications are covered by their patients' Part D plans."

The scope of the project encompassed standards for communication of patient instructions, clinical drug terminology and prior authorization information messages. Some of the standards still require further development before they can be adopted on a more widespread basis, according to the report, which also says that the e-prescribing system is also suitable for long-term care settings, with some adjustments.

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