Programming electronic health records to make generic drugs the default choice when physicians write prescriptions may offer one way to reduce unnecessary spending and improve healthcare value in the face of spiraling U.S. health expenditures.

The study, published in a special issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, included four ambulatory clinics (two internal medicine and two family medicine) in the University of Pennsylvania Health System between June 2011 and September 2012 and evaluated the difference in prescribing behavior for three commonly prescribed classes of medications—beta-blockers, statins and proton-pump inhibitors—between family medicine and internal medicine physicians.

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