Study: E-Prescribing Associated With Fewer Adverse Drug Events

May 7, 2015 in News

Adverse drug events are less common among patients whose providers more frequently use electronic prescribing, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, FierceEMR reports.

Details of Study

For the study, researchers — including former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari — examined patients with diabetes who were covered by Medicare Part D. The study included patients in ambulatory settings, as well as hospitals.

The researchers analyzed adverse drug events that occurred among patients of two groups of physicians, including those who used e-prescribing for:

  • Less than 50% of their orders; and
  • More than 50% of their orders.

The 50% threshold corresponds with the meaningful use Stage 2 requirement.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Study Findings

The study found a small but statistically significant link between e-prescribing in ambulatory settings and lower rates of adverse drug events.

According to the researchers, the study supports previous findings that the meaningful use program can be associated with fewer adverse drug events. However, the association was not constant among different patient populations.

For example, the risk of an adverse drug event was higher among black patients, compared with Hispanics. In addition, the study found that:

  • Younger, female or rural providers were less likely to see adverse drug events among their patients; and
  • Providers with sicker or lower-income patients had a higher likelihood of having such adverse events among their patients (Hall, FierceEMR, 5/6).
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