August 21, 2007 - In a signal of momentum for greater use of e-prescribing by America's physicians, the state of Minnesota has taken steps to require physicians contracting with the state employee health plan's medical networks to use e-prescribing by 2011, said the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) Aug. 20.
Last year the Institute of Medicine challenged all physicians to begin using e-prescribing to reduce the 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur each year due to causes such as harmful drug interactions, unawareness of patients' medication history and illegibly written prescriptions.
"Governor Pawlenty's Administration is the first to make sure that more doctors take advantage of the safety and savings benefits of e-prescribing. This is a refreshing antidote to the 'all talk, no action' approach that too often accompanies this important issue," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. "Unfortunately, less than one in 10 physicians use e-prescribing and two-thirds are not making it a priority to begin doing so. The Pawlenty Administration's initiative will help fix this problem in Minnesota."
Merritt noted that e-prescribing also saves patients and payers money by giving doctors real-time, online access to their patients' full range of pharmacy choices, including more affordable brand and generic options. Without e-prescribing, neither doctor nor patient typically knows this information before a prescription is written.
On a national level, PCMA urges Congress to require e-prescribing in Medicare, too. A recent study conducted by the Gorman Health Group stated that doing so would reduce 1.9 million medication errors and save billions of dollars over the next decade.
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 210 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D.
For more information: www.pcmanet.org