FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Contact: CMS Office of Public Affairs
HHS Issues Report to Congress on E-Prescribing
Electronic Prescribing to Cut Errors and Costs
In a report to Congress released today, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt announced the results of an electronic prescribing pilot project that support the adoption of new electronic prescribing standards. These standards, required by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, would help cut both medication errors and health care costs.
"Electronic prescribing improves efficiencies while helping to eliminate potentially harmful drug interactions and other medication problems," Secretary Leavitt said. "It also solves the problem of hard-to-read handwritten prescriptions. Additionally, such health information technologies promote affordability by allowing physicians to know which medications are covered by their patients' Part D plans."
The pilot project demonstrated that three initial standards are already capable of supporting e-prescribing transactions in Medicare Part D. These are standard transactions that provide physicians with patients' formulary and benefit information, medication history, and the fill status of their medications.
"The findings in this report, along with previously adopted foundation standards, demonstrate that HHS is effectively advancing electronic prescribing which will continue to help Medicare beneficiaries receive higher quality care," Secretary Leavitt said.
The report also found that, with some adjustments, e-prescribing can work successfully in long-term care settings.
Some of the initial e-prescribing standards tested by the pilot project were found to have potential but still need further development if they are to be adopted as e-prescribing standards. These include standards used to convey structured patient instructions, a terminology to describe clinical drugs, and messages that convey prior authorization information.
The pilot project, conducted through an interagency agreement between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), selected five pilot sites operating in eight states to test initial standards to determine if they were ready for widespread adoption. Those pilot sites were Achieve Healthcare Information Technologies, LLP, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass.; Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif.; SureScripts, LLC, Alexandria, Va.; and University Hospitals Health System, Cleveland, Ohio.
Copies of the report to Congress and the full evaluation contractor's report are available on the AHRQ Web site at http://healthit.ahrq.gov/erxpilots.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009