"The Value of E-Prescribing" by Kerry Weems

We’re fortunate to be able to hold the National e-conference in Massachusetts, the number one e-prescribing state in the nation.

Last July, buried in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) was a small but valuable gift to anyone who provides or uses health care. These were incentives in the new law to accelerate adoption of e-prescribing.

These incentives are critical for a host of reasons: more efficient practices, more complete information, greater savings to Medicare and the health care system, and most importantly, safety.

The Institute of Medicine says more than 1.5 million Americans are injured every year by drug errors. E-prescribing lets providers know—up front— patients’ medication histories and risk of dangerous interactions.

E-prescribing could save the Medicare program from $13 million to $156 million between 2009 and 2013.

Not only many doctors, but also many independent pharmacies, still need to connect with the technology they need to make e-prescribing a part of everyday office transactions. And even though Massachusetts leads the nation, according to, this state’s e-prescribing rate is just 13%.

Not good enough. We can’t stop until e-prescribing is routine, everyday practice everywhere in the U.S. Quality health care depends on it.

Kerry Weems
Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

This program aired on October 7, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.


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