Earlier this week the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) announced its plans for a massive two-year survey. The survey will poll doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers from 110 organizations to find how many have e-prescribing systems.
In addition, the survey hopes to find out what major obstacles prevent healthcare providers from implementing an e-prescribing system. Previous polls have showed that doctors still feel the cost of an e-prescribing system is prohibitive. Doctors also feel the software is tricky and that training, implementation and upkeep are beyond their financial and technical capabilities.
This data is important because according to reports only 120,000, or roughly 20%, of all office-based prescribers have an e-prescribing system and for health care leaders 20% isn’t enough. Look at what the government is doing to encourage doctors to begin using an e-prescribing system. The HITECH provisions, included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allow incentives to doctors who implement electronic medical records and e-prescriptions. Moreover, in order to encourage even more doctors to make the switch to e-prescribing Medicare has instituted an incentive payment plan.
In 2009, hospitals and doctors can receive a 2% incentive payment on their Medicare Part B billings. Of course, you have to follow the criteria for a successful e-prescriber as set forth in the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). The 2% incentive runs from 2009 to 2010, by 2011 the incentive decreases to 1% where it remains until 2012. During 2012, the incentive is down to .5%.
If incentives are not enough to get physicians to begin e-prescribing then perhaps penalties will. In 2012, penalties will be added to those who have yet to adopt a system. By 2012, a 1% penalty will be charged to any provider that doesn’t implement an e-prescribing system. The penalty rises each year forward. In 2014, the penalty will be 2% and there is a chance that the penalties could go higher after 2014. Soon, the cost of not having an e-prescribing system will outweigh the costs associated with implementing such a system.
Jennifer is a Wisconsin based writer. She has a special interest in technology. Her works have been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and online. Her business background has allowed her to work in various fields including; Construction, Accounting and most recently Audio Visual.