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AARP Supports E-prescribing

AARP recently provided testimony in House Corporations in support of H 7356 The Prescribing Safety Act that would allow practitioners to generate prescriptions with the use of a personal computer or handheld device. The legislation, which improves safety and yields savings, has a wide range of support. A recent AARP survey found that more than 90 percent of older adults want doctors to use e-prescribing to check their medication history, determine whether their plan covers a drug, and send their prescription to the pharmacy.

E-prescribing is a transmission using electronic media of prescription or prescription-related information between a prescriber, dispenser, pharmacy benefit manager, or group purchaser, either directly or through an intermediary, including an e-prescribing network. House Bill H 7365 The Prescribing Safety Act intends to increase e-prescribing and thus enhance patient safety and improve quality of care.

Citing Rhode Islanders’ expectations of health care services of high quality, safety and value as some of the bill’s purposes, the Prescribing Safety Act requires that physicians use electronic prescribing as is recommended by the national Institute of Medicine and American Health Information Community.

E-prescribing can provide physicians information on generic availability and immediate access to formulary information and patients’ medication histories. This will allow the physician and the patient to discuss generic drug options at the optimal time of prescribing rather than having pharmacists address them later.

The implementation of health information technology, including electronic medical records and the use of electronic prescribing, increases the quality of health care delivery and helps prevent medication errors. The use of e-prescribing will support a transformed health care system in Rhode Island that is safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable.

By January 2012, health insurers shall establish and maintain drug formularies for Rhode Island subscribers in a standardized format. These formularies will be downloadable for providers and e-prescribers to access at no cost.

AARP is pleased to support this bill that helps to improve the lives of its 135,000 Rhode Island members and the public in general.

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