56% of Physicians E-Prescribed Medication in 2014, Report Finds

May 19, 2015 in News

About 56% of U.S. physicians electronically prescribed medication in 2014, according to Surescripts’ 2014 National Progress Report, MedCity News reports (Versel, MedCity News, 5/19).

Report Details

Surescripts’ annual report is a national measure of each state’s progress in the adoption and use of electronic prescribing (iHealthBeat, 5/21/14).

For the report, Surescripts analyzed health data transactions that took place on the company’s network last year, including:

  • Clinical messages (Surescripts release, 5/19);
  • E-prescribing of controlled substances (Arlotta, Forbes, 5/19);
  • General e-prescribing rates; and
  • Medication history-related transactions.

Report Findings

Overall, the report found that Surescripts processed about 6.5 billion health data transactions in 2014, including:

  • 764 million medication history-related transactions; and
  • 7.4 million clinical messages.

In addition, the report found that:

  • 67% — or 1.2 billion — of all new prescriptions in 2014 were e-prescribed via Surescripts’ network; and
  • 95% of pharmacies were on the company’s network in 2014.

Controlled Substance E-Prescribing Lagging

However, the report found while Surescripts saw a 400% increase in e-prescriptions for controlled substances between 2013 and 2014, the number of such prescriptions remains comparatively low at 1.67 million.

In addition, the report found that in 2014:

  • 73% of pharmacies were capable of receiving e-prescriptions for controlled substances; and
  • Just 1.4% of controlled substance prescribers were enabled to e-prescribe (MedCity News, 5/19).

Paul Uhrig — chief administrative and legal officer and chief privacy officer at Surescripts — said, “Total [e-prescriptions for controlled substances] transaction volume is still so low across the board,” noting that better performance among states “seems to mostly hinge on whether or not a state government makes [the practice] a priority” (Forbes, 5/19).

According to the report, the top three states for e-prescribing of controlled substances in 2014 were:

  • Nebraska;
  • California; and
  • Michigan.

According to MedCity News, Surescripts predicts that e-prescribing of controlled substances will grow in 2015 as more law enforcement officials begin to view technology as a tool in combatting misuse of opioids and other addictive prescription drugs (MedCity News, 5/19).

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