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.

"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 July 31, 2014 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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