HITECH: Electronic Prescribing Less Costly, Improves Medication Safety

Seattle, WA, USA – The $19 billion Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 provided physician incentives to spur adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and established criteria for Meaningful Use. Topping the list of criteria is electronic prescribing of medications, also known as computerized provider order entry (CPOE), to replace using a prescription pad. Studies have demonstrated that CPOE systems improve medication safety in hospital settings, but they have been less frequently evaluated in physician office practices.

Researchers from the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program at the University of Washington used a decision-analytic model to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a basic CPOE system versus traditional paper-based prescribing in reducing medication errors and adverse drug events.

Results suggested that in a midsized medical group (400 providers), over a five-year period, a basic CPOE system would save $18 million compared to paper-based prescribing and be associated with 1.5 million fewer medication errors and 14.5 thousand fewer adverse drug events. The researchers also estimated that in a small practice group (five providers), over five years, CPOE would save $265,000, lead to 3,875 fewer medication errors and 39 fewer adverse drug events.

Dr. Beth Devine, PhD, PharmD, MBA, Associate Professor in the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, University of Washington and lead investigator of the study states, “Our results suggest that adoption of CPOE in the ambulatory setting of small to midsized medical groups provides excellent value for the investment, and is a cost-effective strategy to improve medication safety.”

The full study, “Cost-Effectiveness of a Computerized Provider Order Entry System in Improving Medication Safety Ambulatory Care,” is published in Value in Health.

CMS.gov – Meaningful Use.
Available from URL: http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Meaningful_Use.html

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers worldwide).

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

For more information: www.ispor.org

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