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Early adopters of ePrescribing serve as models in a growing market

Early adopters of ePrescribing serve as models in a growing market


SureScripts, in partnership with the Massachusetts Medical Society, is launching an educational network providing physicians with information from the early adopters of ePrescribing technology. Datamonitor's Kimberly O'Malley argues that educational forums like this allow members to more efficiently evaluate and subsequently adopt electronic prescribing as a solution for their practices...
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

SureScripts is the largest of several technology vendors that have developed a solution to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of the prescribing process by establishing an electronic prescribing network between physicians and pharmacists.

SureScripts activates its electronic prescribing network (called SureScripts Messenger Services) in individual states using a consolidated community-wide effort that includes state and regional organizations, individuals, and entities such as medical societies, pharmacy associations, health quality organizations, legislators, regulators, payors and health care systems. These organizations often undertake internal educational initiatives to help promote the advantages of electronic prescribing over the traditional paper based prescribing method.

First Practice Program

Earlier this month the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), in collaboration with SureScripts, announced the launch of the First Practice Program (FPP), an educational network for MMS member physicians.

The partnership between SureScripts and MMS comes on the heels of a change in law that not only allows electronic prescribing, but encourages its implementation. Through the educational network established by the FPP, physicians will be able to share their electronic prescribing experiences with their colleagues. The FPP may be a novel approach to educating physicians, but it is based on the sound premise that physicians are more likely to see value in information provided by other healthcare professionals.

An educational network that allows physicians participating in the program to both serve as models and share their expertise in an open forum is more likely to be an effective way of recruiting physicians than simply providing information directly from the vendor. The principal goal of SureScripts' First Practice Program is to accelerate local awareness, acceptance and integration of electronic prescribing within ' medical community. SureScripts hopes that this novel collaborative approach will convince physicians operating via the traditional paper based prescription process of the benefits of ePrescribing.

Increasing use

Member physicians interested in participating in the SureScripts First Practice Program register online, filling out an online survey that provides them with a report of the opportunities available for their practice to adopt electronic prescribing. SureScripts will then provide the participating physician with SureScripts-certified electronic prescribing desktop or handheld software at a discounted rate. After installing the software the user will be able to securely exchange new prescription and renewal information between the physician practice and pharmacy. Physicians participating in FPP will be monitored for a two-month period to determine how they are using the ePrescribing system. The information collected will help SureScripts to better determine which physicians to target for adoption pilots in other states.

It appears that more states are recognizing the value of establishing ePrescribing systems. The SureScripts network is already in use in , , , , , , and . SureScripts reports that by the end of 2004, the network is expected to be in use in nearly two-dozen states.

Challenges ahead

Electronic prescribing programs are gaining momentum in the despite an initially low adoption rate, which was mostly due to the administrative and logistical barriers associated with coordinating state, regional and national healthcare organizations. As changes in medical policy and process happen gradually at the state level more physicians and pharmacists will begin to see how electronic prescribing can benefit their practices in terms of patient safety and overall quality of care.

The establishment of educational networks, such as SureScripts's First Practice Program, will allow electronic prescribing technology vendors to establish relationships with physicians and to raise awareness in the medical community of the strengths of their ePrescribing solutions. However, the challenge for ePrescribing companies lies in designing a common educational forum that participating physicians see as adding value to their practices.

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