Magazine article USA TODAY

E-Prescribing Measure Will Cut Costs

Magazine article USA TODAY

E-Prescribing Measure Will Cut Costs

Article excerpt

A Federal measure that encourages using electronic systems for prescriptions will help deliver safer and more efficient care to patients while also cutting costs, posits Vincent Duffy, a Purdue University professor of industrial engineering and researcher at Discovery Park's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, West Lafayette, Ind. This pilot project, which began last month and runs through 2013, awards doctors additional money from Medicare if they use electronic prescribing systems, known as e-prescribing. Medicare will give doctors a two percent bonus on top of their fee for e-prescribing in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the bonus will drop to one percent and, in 2013, it will dip again to 0.5%.

"This bonus program encouraging e-prescribing will make the system more efficient, streamline the prescription process, and help reduce medical errors;' predicts Duffy. "When you consider 3,000,000,000 prescriptions are written annually, this measure could have a significant impact on U.S. health care."

According to the Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C., 1,500,000 Americans are injured annually by drug errors, and analysts say approximately 7,000 U.S. deaths occur each year because of such mistakes. …

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