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Even when physicians adopt e-prescribing, use of advanced features lags.


Physician practice adoption of electronic prescribing has not guaranteed that individual physicians will routinely use the technology, particularly the more advanced features the federal government is promoting with financial incentives, according to a new national study from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Slightly more than two in five physicians providing office-based ambulatory care reported that information technology (IT) was available in their practice to write prescriptions in 2008, the year before implementation of federal incentives. Among physicians with e-prescribing capabilities, about a quarter used the technology only occasionally or not at all. Moreover, fewer than 60 percent of physicians with e-prescribing had access to three advanced features included as part of the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs--identifying potential drug interactions, obtaining formulary information and transmitting prescriptions to pharmacies electronically--and less than a quarter routinely used all three features. Physicians in practices using electronic medical records exclusively were much more likely to report routine use of e-prescribing than physicians with stand-alone e-prescribing. systems. Other gaps in adoption and routine use of e-prescribing also exist, most notably between physicians in larger and smaller practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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