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Not surprisingly, lawmakers, at least, are taking notice.In December, John Kerry (D, Mass.) co-sponsored the Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007 in the Senate and a similar bill was introduced in the House that would provide new incentives to push adoption of e-prescribing among prescribers.
"Additionally, electronic controlled substance prescriptions cannot be altered, cannot be copied, and are electronically trackable.
Furthermore, the federal DEA rules for electronic controlled substances prescriptions establish strict security measures, such as two-factor authentication, that reduce the likelihood of fraudulent prescriptions." Another proponent of the bill is Imprivata, the security company that develops tools such as Confirm ID, which helps providers meet stringent DEA requirements for EPCS.
"With time savings for myself and my techs, I have found the cost savings to outweigh the costs in the end," he added.
For now the focus is on getting prescribers on board.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has been pushing for legislation to mandate the use of e-prescriptions by running television and print advertisements.
In addition, the American Health Information Community, an advisory panel convened by Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, has joined the chorus, urging Leavitt to mandate the use of e-prescriptions in the Medicare program.
An increasingly diverse collation of groups is pushing hard to increase adoption of electronic prescriptions.
The uncommon alliance of pharmacy organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, and consumer organizations is pushing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and federal lawmakers to take steps to increase the use of e-prescriptions.
The lack of DEA policies regarding e-prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is considered a key hurdle to more widespread adoption.