Wednesday, December 24, 2008

e-Prescribing with Formulary Decision Support Increases Usage of Generics

From AHRQ Research Activities, January 2009, "electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems that allow doctors to select lower cost or generic medications could save $845,000 per 100,000 patients per year and possibly more system-wide, according to findings from a new study. Complete use among physicians of e-prescribing system with formulary decision support could reduce prescription drug spending by up to $3.9 million per 100,000 patients per year, according to the researchers...

To test the cost-savings potential of an e-prescribing system that includes data on insurers' formularies, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston compared the change in prescriptions written in three formulary tiers before and after an e-prescribing system was launched. The study examined data collected over 18 months from two major Massachusetts health insurers covering 1.5 million patients.

Doctors using e-prescribing with formulary decision support, which accounted for more than 200,000 filled prescriptions in the study, increased their use of generic prescriptions by 3.3 percent. These changes were above and beyond the increased use of generics that occurred among all doctors and the already high rate of generic drug use in Massachusetts. Based on average costs for private insurers, study authors estimate that the use of e-prescribing could save $845,000 per 100,000 patients per year and generate even higher savings with greater use."

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