Press Releases & Articles

May 21, 2009

Sequel Systems Urges Organizations to Adopt E-Prescribing Procedures

Sequel Systems Urges Hospital-Based and Managed Services Organizations to Adopt E-Prescribing Procedures
Electronic Health Records Reduce Medical Errors, Increase Medicare Reimbursements
Melville, NY (May 21, 2009) — Sequel Systems says the Electronic Prescribe (E-Prescribe) program, in which paper-based health records would be converted to electronic health records (EHRs), would be beneficial to hospital-based and managed services organizations. This not only reduces medical errors made in the reading of written prescriptions — which results in increased liability — but also offers financial incentives by receiving increases in Medicare reimbursements to those organizations that adopt the program.
An Institute of Medicine report showed that 100,000 people die each year from medical errors in hospitals, and mo re than 1.5 million people are injured. As a result, these medical errors have cost U.S. taxpayers $17-$29 billion annually. E-Prescriptions improve quality safety and quality of care, reduce the amount of time spent communicating back and forth with pharmacies, provide more accuracy and efficiency and reduce health care costs by preventing adverse drug events and substituting generics or less expensive medications for brand-name drugs.
On February 17, President Barack Obama signed the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law that qualifies hospitals and physicians for $17 billion worth of incentive payments from Medicaid and Medicare over a five-year period. Under ARRA’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, each physician is eligible for $40,000-$60,000, providing they can prove “meaningful use” of an EHR. A draft outline of such “meaningful use” standards is expected to be released by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on June 1.
While the exact definition of “meaningful use” has yet to be determined, the legislation outlines three criteria for EHRs: it must include e-prescribing, it must provide electronic exchange of health information and it must allow submission of clinical quality measures.
“We support the president’s plan to have all medical records digitized,” said Irfan Iqbal, Director of Medical Informatics, Sequel Systems. “The grant money, along with the increased reimbursements, should provide enough financial incentives for hospitals and medical service groups to make the conversion to EHRs.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines e-prescribing as “a prescriber’s ability to electronically send an accurate, error-free and understandable prescription directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care,” and calls it “an important element in improving the quality of patient care.” On April 7, 2008, the CMS adopted “Standards for E-Prescribing Under Medicare Part D” and the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
Physicians who switch to EHRs by the end of 2009 will receive $18,000 a year in Medicaid incentives starting in 2011. If they start using EHRs in 2011, they can receive a total of $44,000. While physicians have five years to make the transition to EHRs, the financial incentives decrease each year. Those who do not use EHRs by 2015 will be penalized.
“We encourage all doctors to take advantage of the E-prescribe program as soon as possible,” Mr. Iqbal said. “This innovative program provides financial incentives for these doctors, and greatly reduces the number of injuries and deaths that are caused by medical errors because of written prescriptions that are illegible or inaccurate. This also means a reduction in liability on the hospital’s part. Because these prescriptions are filled out electronically, the patient no longer has to wait to pick up their medications, saving the patient time at the check-out counter.”
For more information, please contact Irfan Iqbal, Director of Medical Informatics at iiqbal@sequelmed.com or 631.694.3600.