Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electronic Prescribing System May Encourage Physicians To Choose Lower-cost Drugs

Date:
December 17, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Clinicians using an electronic prescribing system appear more likely to prescribe lower-cost medications, reducing drug spending, according to a new report.

Clinicians using an electronic prescribing system appear more likely to prescribe lower-cost medications, reducing drug spending, according to a new report.

Related Articles


"Prescription drug costs account for a significant proportion of medical spending and have been increasing rapidly," the authors write as background information in the article. One method for encouraging use of lower-cost medications is a tiered copayment system. Insurers identify preferred medications, such as generic drugs, and designate them "tier 1" with the lowest copayment. Moderately priced brand-name medications may be designated second-tier and assigned a higher copayment, and third-tier drugs represent expensive brand-name medications for which generic alternatives are available and have the highest copayment.

"A key limitation of tiered copayment systems is prescribers' inability to keep track of differing copayment tiers across insurance plans' formularies," the authors write. Michael A. Fischer, M.D., M.S., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, studied an electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) system designed to address this issue. In April 2004, two large Massachusetts insurers began using the system, which provided community-based practices with free wireless devices and access to a secure web portal that color-coded drugs by copayment tier. Using 18 months of data, the researchers compared the change in proportion of prescriptions for the three tiers before and after e-prescribing began, and also compared the prescription habits of clinicians using the e-prescribing system to those of controls.

Between October 2003 and March 2005, more than 1.5 million patients filled 17.4 million prescriptions. After implementation of e-prescribing, tier 1 prescriptions increased by 3.3 percent and second- and third-tier prescriptions decreased accordingly among clinicians using the system. E-prescriptions of tier 1 medications increased 6.6 percent, compared with a 2.6 percent increase among prescriptions from the control group.

Among clinicians using the new system, e-prescriptions accounted for 20 percent of prescriptions. These clinicians prescribed more tier-1 medications than the control group even when not e-prescribing; however, prescriptions of lower-cost medications were most common among e-prescriptions.

Based on average medication costs for private insurers, the researchers estimate that using such an e-prescribing system at this rate could result in savings of $0.70 per patient per month, or $845,000 annually per 100,000 insured patients filling prescriptions. "The potential savings increase with more availability and use of e-prescribing; for complete e-prescribing use, the projected savings are $3.91 million per 100,000 patients per year," the authors write.

"Our results suggest that there are important economic gains achievable through the broader use of e-prescribing with formulary decision support but that merely providing e-prescribing systems to clinicians will not necessarily achieve those savings," they conclude. "Rather, prescribers need to adopt the e-prescribing systems fully for these gains to be realized. Making those changes represents an important goal for physicians, insurers and all those with a stake in the cost of prescription medications."

This study was supported by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and a career development grant from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fischer et al. Effect of Electronic Prescribing With Formulary Decision Support on Medication Use and Cost. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2008; 168 (22): 2433 DOI: 10.1001/archinte.168.22.2433

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Electronic Prescribing System May Encourage Physicians To Choose Lower-cost Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180244.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, December 17). Electronic Prescribing System May Encourage Physicians To Choose Lower-cost Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180244.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Electronic Prescribing System May Encourage Physicians To Choose Lower-cost Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208180244.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins