Community pharmacies are reaping the financial rewards as more physicians across the United States embrace electronic prescribing, the head of the nation’s e-prescribing network said at the NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference here.


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Strong ROI delivered by e-scripts

September 12th, 2011

BOSTON – Community pharmacies are reaping the financial rewards as more physicians across the United States embrace electronic prescribing, the head of the nation’s e-prescribing network said at the NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference here.

“E-prescribing is well beyond the tipping point,” Surescripts president and chief executive officer Harry Totonis said, noting how in three years the number of doctors using e-prescribing has surged.

According to Surescripts, the number of prescribers routing prescriptions electronically grew to 234,000 last year, a 34% increase over 2009’s level.

In addition, the company reports that 91% of U.S. community pharmacies were connected to the Surescripts network at the end of 2010.

Surescripts recently analyzed more than 40 million prescriptions, comparing the cost of these scripts if written on paper with the cost of having them transferred electronically. The result, Totonis explained, was that e-prescribing provides pharmacies with between eight and 10 times the return on investment per transaction.

Every 1,000 prescriptions that went through an e-prescribing system added $1,278 to pharmacies’ coffers, he said. In addition, there are no lost prescriptions when they are transmitted electronically.

Surescripts’ data shows that 100% of electronic prescriptions reach a pharmacy, compared with only 72% of paper ­prescriptions.

Last year, Totonis said, 326 million prescriptions (269 million new prescriptions and 57 million renewal notices) were routed electronically. Surescripts expects that total to increase by 57% to 512 million prescriptions.

Mmore than 328 million prescription histories also are expected to be delivered electronically by the year’s end, a 43% increase over the 230 million delivered in 2010.
Meanwhile, prescription benefit requests are expected to increase to 796 million this year, up 34% from 595 million a year ago, when the number of these requests nearly doubled.

Perhaps the greatest impact that e-prescribing is having on community pharmacies is its ability to help pharmacists spend more time with patients.

Totonis pointed out that e-prescribing allows pharmacy staff to fill prescriptions earlier and during nonpeak hours and lets them focus more of their time on patients when they pick up their medications.

E-prescribing, he added, is helping to drive down costs across the entire health care system by improving adherence and medication therapy compliance, as well as fostering better health outcomes.

Going forward, Totonis said he sees e-prescribing becoming more widespread, with the technology playing an integral role in the nation’s health care system.

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