More than half of all prescriptions were routed electronically last year, and a rising number of providers and payers are turning to electronic exchange of health information, according to Surescripts.


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E-prescription, EHR volumes on the upswing

May 21st, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. – More than half of all prescriptions were routed electronically last year, and a rising number of providers and payers are turning to electronic exchange of health information, according to Surescripts.

The health information network said Wednesday that it routed more than 1 billion e-prescriptions in 2013, accounting for 58% of all eligible U.S. prescriptions (excluding controlled substances), sent by 73% of all office-based physicians.

In 2013, the total volume of prescriptions routed electronically surged 44%, up fom 788 million in 2012 and 570 million in 2011.

Among pharmacies, the adoption of electronic prescribing also has risen, increasing 11% at independent pharmacies between 2011 and 2013, while adoption among chain pharmacies remained constant at 98%. As of last year, 40% of pharmacies had achieved Surescripts certification to enable the e-prescribing of controlled substances.

"For more than a decade, Surescripts has operated a network and built the relationships to get the right information to the right place at the right time," Paul Uhrig, acting chief executive officer of Surescripts, said in a statement. "We're incredibly proud to report measurable progress connecting and coordinating care providers through our network, because we believe that people and organizations working together will make health care more efficient, more effective and easier to navigate."

Nearly 700 million electronic medication history records, covering two-thirds of the U.S. population, were delivered in 2013, a 19% increase over 2012.

"Just as we've witnessed continued growth in e-prescribing over the past 13 years, so too have we seen the complexity of the health care system multiply," Uhrig added. "Today, Surescripts has the assets and the experience that are needed to connect hospitals, pharmacists, providers, payers, pharmacy benefit managers and others to enable the secure, electronic exchange of vast amounts of clinical data and make it useful across health care."

Surescripts noted that its 2013 National Progress Report and Safe-Rx Rankings spotlight broader signs of growth in electronic health information exchange that support the federal government's efforts to promote "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs).

Last year, Delaware again led the Safe-Rx Rankings, with 81% of doctors routing a total of 3.8 million e-prescriptions. All states routed at least 45% of eligible prescriptions electronically in 2013, and e-prescribing has grown to where the last-place state in 2013 would have been the first place state in 2009, by a margin of 13 percentage points, Surescripts said. Wisconsin, North Dakota and Connecticut all moved into the top 10 for the first time in 2013.

The Safe-Rx Rankings are a nationwide measure of each state's progress in advancing health care safety, efficiency and quality through the adoption and use of e-prescribing. The rankings recognize the full utilization of e-prescribing based on volume of prescription benefit, medication history and routing transactions.

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