Rhode Island Launches E-prescription Effort

System is expected to cut down on physician and pharmacy mistakes

Next month, 70% of Rhode Island's pharmacies will be able to accept electronic prescriptions from the more than 2,100 physicians in the state.

Rhode Island will be the first state to roll out a transaction engine from SureScript Systems Inc. that provides secure connectivity for the transmission of E-prescriptions between doctors' offices and drugstores.

SureScripts Messenger Services transaction engine provides the format for messages to be sent electronically. The lack of a standard transaction engine for E-prescriptions has meant that even when Rhode Island doctors were equipped to write prescriptions electronically, pharmacies handled them manually.

"Right now, when a doctor hits the button to send an electronic prescription, that information is faxed to the pharmacy and manually re-entered into the pharmacy's system, which opens the door for mistakes and calls back to the doctor," says Laura Adams, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute, a group of professionals from health care, government, business, academia, and insurance that's trying to improve patient safety, quality of care, and health-care technology. Adams says 30% of all prescriptions result in pharmacies calling doctors to check information.

SureScript's transaction engine is being tested in other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

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