Arlington, VA—With more than three-quarters of all prescriptions now electronic, pharmacists should be seeing fewer and fewer paper prescriptions, based on a new report from the nation’s largest health information network.
In its 2015 National Progress Report, Surescripts reports significant movement toward a fully digitized healthcare system.
“Providers and pharmacists are increasingly accessing and exchanging critical patient information where and when they need it most,” Kelly Jeffers, vice-president of corporate communications for Surescripts, writes in a blog about the report.
Surescripts’ transaction volume grew 48% from 2014 to 2015, according to the report, which notes that, including activities such as e-prescriptions, patient medication histories, and secure clinical messages, about 9.7 billion transactions crossed the Surescripts network in 2015.
Jeffers compared the average of 3.8 million e-prescriptions in the United States each day to the 1.4 million packages shipped by Amazon or the 2 million rides provided by Uber worldwide each day.
Here are some of the key facts from the recent report:
• 77% of all prescriptions are now electronic;
• The volume of e-prescriptions has nearly doubled since 2012, and increased more than 300% since 2010;
• As of the end of 2015, the Surescripts network connected more than a million healthcare professionals with secure access to medical information for 240 million patients, representing 74% of the U.S. population.
In her blog, Jeffers notes that Surescripts’ Medication History data may have helped avoid more than 25,000 patient readmissions and more than 15,000 adverse drug events, adding that, since 2010, the number of medication histories processed has quadrupled to 1.05 billion. Furthermore, she points out that, in 2015, massive growth in both the adoption and utilization of medication history saved hospitals more than $400 million in 2015.
Also significant, according to the report, is that the number of providers enabled to use electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) increased 359% from 2014 to 2015. That led to a 667% increase in e-prescriptions for those medications.
“In 2015, Vermont became the final state to legalize EPCS for all schedules of controlled drugs, and New York enacted legislation to mandate the use of electronic prescribing,” according to the report. “These shifting dynamics drove a sharp increase in adoption and utilization of e-prescribing for controlled substances nationwide.”
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