Electronic prescriptions among U.S. office-based prescribers increased 71 percent to 326 million in 2010, compared with 190 million the previous year, according to an annual progress report from e-prescribing network vendor Surescripts.

Major drivers of the increase, according to report authors, include the electronic health records meaningful use incentives program and Medicare's e-prescribing incentive program, particularly among physicians without EHRs. Other findings from the 2010 analysis of e-prescribing include:

* Six large mail order pharmacies and 91 percent of community pharmacies were able to receive e-prescriptions at the end of 2010,

* The number of e-prescribers between the end of 2008--before the meaningful use program--and the end of 2010 increased by 216 percent, to 234,000 from 74,000.

* Physicians with the highest e-prescribing adoption rates are cardiologists (49 percent) and family practitioners (47 percent), and

* Small- and mid-sized practices now are adopting e-prescribing at a higher rate than larger practices, with a 42 percent adoption rate for smaller organizations, only 2 percent lower than larger practices.

The full "National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare" is available at surescripts.com/report.

--Joseph Goedert


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