Allow e-prescribing of controlled drugs, key senators urge Obama administration


NEW YORK Having the endorsement of 11 senators around an issue that has become a bit of tripping stone for the wholesale adoption of e-prescribing suggests that a more comprehensive rollout of the cost- and time-saving capabilities associated with e-prescribing, and the advancements an overall healthcare information technology e-prescribing adoption will afford, could be just around the corner.


At the very least, allowing controlled substances to be included in e-prescribing protocols removes a pretty significant impediment for the widespread adoption of e-prescribing. So far e-prescribing is in use today in about 18% of doctor’s practices. And it’s a much harder sell for the remaining 82% when they’re being asked to make the investment in e-prescribing software and still also have to keep their prescription pads on hand for controlled substances and to maintain, essentially, two sets of files.



The fact of the matter is you can’t have a seamless HIT infrastructure, including electronic health records, without including controlled substances as part of that medical record. Not enabling doctors and pharmacists to follow patients on pain meds and other controlled medicines as closely as e-health allows is counterintuitive to the whole HIT movement.



Momentum has been building for physician adoption of e-prescribing. Surescripts last month announced that more than 100,000 physicians have jumped aboard the e-prescribing bandwagon, with some 74,000 doctors actively prescribing electronically in 2008 — up 100% versus 2007. If these 11 senators can push this measure through, you can expect that number to ramp up even more quickly.


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