Study: Cost Largest Barrier to e-Prescribing Adoption Among Physicians

Recent studies have shown e-prescribing to have a host of benefits, including a more streamlined workflow for physicians, a reduction in errors that result from misread handwritten prescriptions and increased patient satisfaction. However, the costs associated with e-prescribing have kept many ambulatory physicians reaching for pen and pad, according to a literature review in Perspectives in Health Information Management.

Researchers reviewed 47 articles, many of which confirmed the efficiency and patient safety benefits of e-prescribing. However, the articles revealed several barriers to e-prescribing adoption, including e-prescribing system errors, privacy issues and the largest obstacle, cost. The review found more than 80 percent of primary care physicians reported cost as a major barrier, and cost savings or government incentives are not usually enough to offset the costs for these practices.

"New technology requires training and IT support for installation and upkeep," all of which add to the total bill, wrote the researchers. "A practice must take these costs into account when deciding whether to implement an e-prescribing system…According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, in a 2007 study the total cost of implementing an e-prescribing system was found to be $42,332, with annual costs after implementation of about $14,725 per year for a practice of 10 full-time equivalent psychiatrists," which is a significant expense for a smaller practice, they wrote.

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