AMA offers e-prescribing help center

The online resource aims to help doctors find vendors, reap incentives and avoid the penalties Medicare has slated for 2012.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted April 13, 2009

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The American Medical Association has launched a new online education center designed to help physicians get started with e-prescribing.

Opened April 1, the center features information on e-prescribing vendors; a calculator to estimate the time savings physicians can expect with e-prescribing; a calculator to determine Medicare e-prescribing incentives; the latest information on federal and state incentive programs; and readiness and planning tools.

"The AMA's new e-prescribing learning center takes the guesswork out of the decision-making process by giving physicians all the tools they need to decide what system is best for their practice," AMA Board of Trustees Chair Joseph M. Heyman, MD, said in a prepared statement.

At the end of last year, only 13% of physicians were prescribing electronically. More are expected to consider it now that Medicare is offering incentives, which will turn into penalties for non-use by 2012.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rolled out a resource site last year to give physicians information on how to receive the bonus payments.

"The benefits of e-prescribing are widely recognized and include a significant reduction in the risk of medication errors and drug interaction," said Dr. Heyman. Adopting e-prescribing also can help prepare practices for adopting other technology, such as electronic health record systems.

Surescripts, a pharmacy-industry-founded electronic network that connects pharmacies and physicians, started a similar learning center earlier this year, but welcomes the addition of the AMA's tools.

"The more the merrier in terms of e-prescribing education resources," said Kate Berry, senior vice president of business development.

There is a high demand for information on e-prescribing and the AMA site has some "outstanding and unique resources," she said. "And, because it's the AMA, the information will have tremendous credibility with physicians."

Surescripts launched a campaign last year that included a Web site with information for physicians and another for patients to arm them with questions to ask their doctors.

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External links

AMA's e-prescribing learning center (link)

"Medicare's Practical Guide to the E-prescribing Incentive Program," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (link)

Surescripts e-prescribing resources (link)

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