On Eve of Deadline for Using Tamper-Resistant Prescription Pads, Physician Leaders Expand Electronic Prescribing Initiative AOA Joins AAFP, AAP, ACC, ACOG and MGMA in Helping More Physicians Get



2008-03-31 11:00:00

On Eve of Deadline for Using Tamper-Resistant Prescription Pads, Physician Leaders Expand Electronic Prescribing Initiative

AOA Joins AAFP, AAP, ACC, ACOG and MGMA in Helping More Physicians Get

WASHINGTON, DC–( EMWPresswire – March 31, 2008) – The American Osteopathic Association today

announced their participation in “Get Connected,” a new program designed to

help more physicians begin sending prescriptions to pharmacies

electronically. The focal point of the Get Connected program is an online

portal — www.GetRxConnected.com — where physicians can follow a

step-by-step process designed to help them transition from paper-based

prescribing to e-prescribing.

The announcement comes one day before the April 1 deadline whereby all

Medicaid prescriptions must be written on tamper-resistant paper. The

deadline, however, does not apply to electronic prescriptions. Congress

mandated the use of tamper-resistant pads for all Medicaid prescriptions,

but specifically allowed for e-prescribing as an alternative even to

tamper-resistant paper.

Electronic prescribing, or “e-prescribing,” replaces the need for

handwritten, printed or faxed prescriptions and is seen as a more accurate

and efficient means of prescribing medications. And because it is

paperless, e-prescribing is also regarded as a secure alternative to paper

prescriptions which can be stolen, copied, forged and otherwise


The news of broader support for Get Connected within the nation’s physician

community comes less than one month after the launch of the program at a

March 4 event on Capitol Hill by the American Academy of Family Physicians

(AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of

Cardiology (ACC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

(ACOG) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Created under the auspices of The Center for Improving Medication

Management (founded by the AAFP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association,

Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the MGMA and SureScripts),

GetRxConnected.com contains urgent information and guidance for an

estimated 150,000 prescribers located throughout the U.S. that are

currently using electronic medical record (EMR) and other clinical software

to fax prescriptions to pharmacies. Computer-generated faxing of

prescriptions not only prevents physicians from achieving the gains in

practice efficiency and patient safety associated with e-prescribing, but

starting on January 1, 2009, all computer-generated prescriptions covered

by the Medicare Part D program must be transmitted electronically and not

via computer-generated fax. (Important Note to Physicians Using EMRs: Most

EMR users believe that they already send prescriptions to pharmacies

electronically — i.e. they are unaware that it is far more likely that

their EMR is generating faxes that arrive on paper at the pharmacy’s fax

machine. These computer-generated, faxed prescriptions will not be in

compliance with the new Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) Part D


Through GetRxConnected.com, physicians and their staffs can find out if the

software brand and version they are using is certified to generate

e-prescriptions compliant with the National Council for Prescription Drug

Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT standard as required by the new Medicare

regulations. The SCRIPT standard facilitates the electronic transmission

of prescriptions and prescription-related information. Following the

completion of a brief self-assessment, visitors to GetRxConnected.com can

receive a free, personalized report that indicates the compliance status of

their existing software and that can be used to request an electronic

connection to pharmacies through their vendor.

The Get Connected program is equally intended for physicians and practice

management professionals who have yet to invest in EMR or other clinical

software. The portal provides guidance on how to evaluate and acquire

technology that supports e-prescribing. GetRxConnected.com also helps

physicians and practice management professionals to assess the financial

impact of e-prescribing using an interactive feature that allows them to

calculate an estimate of the time and resources their practice is currently

dedicating to the manual processing of prescriptions.

“The AOA is excited about joining ‘Get Connected’ and offering our

osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) tools and resources to help prepare them for

the impending transition to electronic prescribing,” said Darryl A.

Beehler, D.O., an American Osteopathic Association past president and

representative to the Physicians’ Electronic Health Records

Coalition. “Switching to e-prescribing will not only reduce D.O.s’ practice

expenses but will allow them to concentrate on working with their patients

to help them lead healthy lifestyles.”

E-Prescribing: An Opportunity to Save Time, Dollars and Lives

There remains a sizable opportunity to increase the adoption and use of

e-prescribing nationwide. Although SureScripts estimates that more than

100 million prescription transactions will be routed electronically in

2008, that number represents only 7 percent of eligible prescriptions (see

The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing at

www.surescripts.com/report). The realization of e-prescribing’s full

potential represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve patient safety

and the efficiency of the prescribing process.

According to the Center for Information Technology Leadership, use of

electronic prescribing with an electronic connection to pharmacy and

advanced decision-support capabilities could help prevent 130,000

life-threatening medication errors annually.

By eliminating paper from the prescribing process, and particularly by

automating prescription renewals, e-prescribing has been proven to offer

significant time savings by reducing prescription-related phone calls and

faxes, allowing prescribers and their staffs more time to care for their


A study by MGMA’s Group Practice Research Network estimated that

administrative complexity related to prescriptions costs practices $15,700

a year for each full-time physician — that does not even take into

consideration the time and cost of managing faxes. Multiplying that figure

by an estimated 563,000 office-based physicians currently practicing and

prescribing medications in the United States reveals an opportunity for

e-prescribing to significantly reduce the up to estimated $8.8 billion

worth of physician and staff time spent on the phone clarifying

prescription information.

About the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its

professional family of more than 61,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s);

promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the

primary certifying body for D.O.s; is the accrediting agency for

osteopathic medical colleges; and has federal authority to accredit

hospitals and other health care facilities.

The Center for Improving Medication Management

The Center for Improving Medication Management serves as an industry

resource by gathering and disseminating best and worst practices related to

technology deployment for electronic medication management and for

leveraging that technology and connectivity to test innovative approaches

to improve patient adherence with prescribed medications. The Center was

founded by American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Blue Cross and

Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and SureScripts. More

information about The Center is available at www.theCIMM.org.

Press Contacts:
Rob Cronin
For The Center for Improving Medication Management

Amanda Denning
913-906-6000, ext. 5223

Susan Martin

Amy Murphy

Vicki Martinka

Liz Johnson
303-799-1111, ext. 1347

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