The electronic prescriptions issued by Walgreens chain of pharmacy establishments across USA have seen an unprecedented rise of 185% touching the 4 billion mark in October 2009 as compared to the electronic records issued last year, based on the statement made by the Walgreens officials.
This achievement has demonstrated the impact of Healthcare improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 providing financial incentives for doctors that utilize the option of electronic prescribing.
As per the statement released by the officials from the organization, Walgreens is targetting to make usage of more than 45 million electronic prescriptions in 2009 as compared to 15 million records filled in 2008. It is expected that the upward trend would continue in the form of financial incentives being offered as part of financial stimulus package that encourages doctors, hospitals and healthcare establishments to make extensive usage of electronic health records which is a salient feature of e-prescription.
Don Huonker, who is the senior Vice-President (Healthcare Innovation) of Walgreen has mentioned that medical practitioners will easily be able to access the software that makes e-prescribing possible on account of federal stimulus package amounting to $19 billion being offered as incentives for adopting electronic health records.
There is an attempt by Walgreens management to extend the facility of e-prescribing for all prescriptions including the controlled drugs. Currently controlled substances account for approximately 15% of all the prescribed medications. The current regulations enforced by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency does not permit these controlled substances to be prescribed electronically.
Huonker has further added that goals of healthcare reforms could be achieved by continual growth in e-prescribing. By reducing the pricing of E-prescribing for the doctors and pharmacies, there is an increased likelihood that patients would increasingly come forward to have their prescriptions filled, benefit from the treatment procedures, thereby shunning medical procedures that are exorbitantly priced and even unnecessary. Adherence to e-prescribing, the errors pertaining to medications including the adverse drug events that cost the healthcare system billions of dollars yearly could be minimized to a great extent. This would eliminate the necessity of calling up a doctor's clinic for the purpose of verification of a prescription. Benefits of e-prescribing are manifold and would entail the pharmacists to devote quality time on drug interactions, appropriate dosage and consultation of patients.