U.S. Recognizes State as National Leader in ePrescribing

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LANSING — Michigan is being recognized by the federal government as national leaders in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of health care by embracing the use of health information technology.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology commended the Michigan Health Information Network, recognizing that 94 percent of pharmacies in the state participate in ePrescribing. This means that Michigan doctors are electronically sending patients’ prescriptions directly to pharmacies which increases the likelihood of medication compliance and reduces the potential for errors due to handwriting, patients losing prescriptions, or incorrect manual entry into the pharmacy system.

“What makes this accomplishment significant is when you look at its impact on patient safety,” James K. Haveman, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, said.”Broad adoption of electronic prescribing is a critical element of improving patient safety. This is one of many ways Michigan is demonstrating national leadership using health information technology and the health information exchange.”

An analysis conducted in September 2012 on a sampling of 27 million e-prescriptions found:

  • A severe or moderate drug-to-drug alert was sent to physicians for more than 7.3 million prescriptions, resulting in 2 million, or 28 percent, of those prescriptions being changed or canceled by the prescribing doctor.
  • Physicians received nearly 1.2 million medication allergy alerts, resulting in more than 323,000, or 27 percent, of those prescriptions being changed or canceled by the prescribing doctor.

Michigan’s efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare began in 2005 when a diverse group of stakeholders formed the Southeast Michigan ePrescribing Initiative, one of the nation’s longest running e-prescribing programs. The coalition includes General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group LLC, the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Medical Group, Express Scripts, CVS Caremark Corp., and Catamaran Corp.

“We are pleased that the ONC has recognized Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s statewide investment and SEMI’s tremendous success in Southeast Michigan promoting electronic prescribing,” Joe Hohner, executive vice president of Health Care Value and Information Technology for BCBSM, said. “It proves that multiple groups working together can achieve more than single efforts acting alone.”

Michigan is hard at work to complete the loop when it comes to improving patients’ health. When a patient’s treatment plan includes medications, “Electronic prescribing from the provider to the pharmacy successfully automates the first half of the provider-pharmacist exchange,” Larry Wagenknecht, CEO of the Michigan Pharmacists Association and chairman of the MiHIN board, said. “The next step is to ensure electronic communication from the pharmacist back to the provider to enhance patient safety and aid with medication adherence.” 

ePrescribing is only one of Michigan’s information technology advancements receiving ONC recognition. Current technologies make it easier and safer for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to collaborate on their patients’ behalf, resulting in fewer errors. Most importantly, this technology allows health care providers and their staff to spend more time actually talking with their patients.

The ONC for Health Information Technology is leading this process, establishing the essential building blocks supporting this secure exchange of health information. They are recognizing states like Michigan who are among the early achievers, one of the 17 of 56 U.S. states and territories being recognized in this vital effort.

For more information about Michigan’s recognition, visit http://statehieresources.org/grantee-recognition-program/
For more information about health information technology, visit www.healthit.gov or www.mihinss.net

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