With the introduction of the 2009 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) electronic prescribing incentive program, the door is opening for widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT) within the physician’s practice.
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2009
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HIT is the use of computer applications to record, store, protect, retrieve, and transfer clinical, administrative, and financial information electronically within healthcare settings. Innovations in information technology have improved the efficiency and quality of many industries, and are now beginning to form a common network that brings all healthcare stakeholders together and is beginning to break down barriers between care providers, insurers, medical researchers, and public health professionals. HIT includes both hardware and software applications designed to meet the needs of healthcare providers, payers, patients, and administrators. The ultimate goal of HIT is to improve both the quality and efficiency of clinical and administrative processes in the delivery of healthcare.
2% Incentive for E-Prescribing
In order to promote the adoption and use of e-prescribing systems, the “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008” (MIPPA) authorized an e-prescribing incentive program beginning January 1, 2009.
This program will provide eligible professionals who successfully e-prescribe an incentive of 2% of the total estimated allowed charges for professional services covered by Medicare Part B and furnished by an eligible professional during the reporting period of one calendar year.
There are three steps to ensure that a physician can qualify for the e-prescribing incentive:
- The electronic prescribing system must meet the standards approved by MIPPA;
- The incentive will not apply if the Medicare-allowed charges pertaining to the e-prescribing measure codes are at least 10% of the total allowed charges under Medicare Part B, or if the secretary determines that the eligible provider did not submit an adequate number of prescriptions under Part D; and
- The provider must report the applicable measure in at least 50% of the cases in which the measure could have been reported during the calendar year, or the secretary must determine that the physician electronically submitted a sufficient number of prescriptions under Part D during the reporting period.
For more information on this incentive program, contact Itara Barnes at [email protected]
Electronic (e-)prescribing is leading the movement toward more coordinated care built on HIT applications. From a high-level view, e-prescribing may appear to be simply an electronic link between the physician and the pharmacy to deliver a prescription to the patient. Upon taking a closer look into this process, we see that e-prescribing actually links all stakeholders—including the patient, prescriber, pharmacist, and payer—through an intricate web of code that instantly communicates patient data between various systems and applications, delivering relevant, user-specific, consistent, and meaningful information to all parties.