New York state lags in e-prescribing medications

November 15, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by Tracey Drury

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November 15, 2011 Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM EDT

Despite doubling its numbers year-over-year, New York state remains in the bottom third in the country when it comes to electronically prescribing medications to patients, according to a new national study.

The study by Surescripts, an e-prescribing services company based in Arlington, Va., put New York at No. 37 in the national ranking.

A total of 18.8 million prescriptions were routed electronically in 2010 - just 17 percent of all eligible prescriptions. But the number nearly doubled from the 9.7 million e-prescriptions filled in 2009, which represented 9 percent of the total available.

In New York, 11,771 physicians, or 26 percent of the total, were routing prescriptions electronically by the end of 2010, up from 4,735 pharmacists, or 12 percent, the year before. During the same period, 4,100 community pharmacies, or 90 percent of the total, were enabled to receive prescriptions electronically, up from 3,808 pharmacies, or 87 percent in 2009; while 84 percent of patients statewide had electronic information available on their prescription benefits and history.

Massachusetts was ranked No. 1. The rankings were based on total prescriptions routed electronically to retail and mail order pharmacies as a percentage of overall prescriptions statewide, as well as eligibility and medical information history.

After Massachusetts, the top 5 states for e-prescribing were Delaware, Michigan, Connecticut, Rhode Island, according to the report. The lowest adoption levels were found in Washington, D.C., followed by Alaska, Nevada, Montana and North Dakota.

Nationally, Surescripts says 52 percent of all office-based physicians now actively use e-prescribing compared with fewer than 10 percent three years ago, while 94 percent of retail pharmacies nationwide are now connected and receiving e-prescriptions.

The national report is in line with local trends on e-prescribing: A report issued last year by Univera Healthcare about prescribing trends in 2009 and early 2010 found 65 percent of prescriptions in the Upstate region were still handwritten or printed on paper, while 18 percent were phoned or faxed in to pharmacies.

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