News | April 27, 2011

Healthcare Organizations Release Updated Guide To E-Prescribing

"How-to" guide helps clinicians adopt e-prescribing system and qualify for federal incentives

Five partner organizations recently issued an updated 2011 edition of A Clinician's Guide to Electronic Prescribing. This "how-to" guide helps health care professionals make informed decisions about how and when to transition from paper to e-prescribing systems. First created in 2008, the new edition of the Guide includes information on the changing healthcare information technology (HIT) environment. The guide is the result of a collaborative effort by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), e-Health Initiative (e-HI), and The Center for Improving Medication Management.

"Whether a physician practice is just beginning to e-prescribe or is already using the technology, this guide is an important resource for all physicians," said AMA Board Secretary Steven J. Stack, M.D. "This updated guide includes information about the federal e-prescribing incentive program and can help physicians understand the requirements so they can receive incentives and avoid penalties."

"When this tool was first developed three years ago, it proved immensely valuable to clinicians," said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA and Board chair for e-HI. "The 2011 revisions bring the Guide up to date with the rapid changes in this arena and make it essential reading for every prescriber."

Since the original release of this guide, the health care environment has changed dramatically. The changes include continued growth in e-prescribing adoption and use, the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Drug Enforcement Agency's rule allowing e-prescribing of controlled substances, and healthcare reform. Each of these topics and their implications for practices and e-prescribing are discussed in more detail in the 2011 guide.

A small team from the collaborating organizations reviewed the original guide and developed a new outline that incorporated critical new information from the last few years. The team developed new content, streamlined existing content and organized the guide into an easy-to-use format. To ensure that it was a robust and accurate resource for clinicians, the group also sought the input of a broader group of healthcare stakeholders, including Quincy Medical Group, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Excellus, Walgreens, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"With all the momentum around e-prescribing and its accelerated growth, it is important to assist physicians and other prescribers to ensure that e-prescribing is implemented well," said Mary Ann Chaffee, senior vice president of external affairs at Surescripts. "This is critical to achieving the greatest gains in safety, efficiency and improved outcomes. This guide provides substantial detail not only on how to get started but what challenges to expect and how to overcome them."

The 2011 edition of A Clinician's Guide to Electronic Prescribing is available at:

American Medical Association (
Medical Group Management Association (
The Center for Improving Medication Management (

About American Medical Association
The American Medical Association (AMA) helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional, public health and advocacy issues in medicine. Working together, the AMA's quarter of a million physician and medical student members are playing an active role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information, visit

About the American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Academy of Family Physicians is one of the largest national medical organizations, representing more than 94,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students nationwide. Founded in 1947, AAFP's mission has been to preserve and promote the science and art of family medicine and to ensure high-quality, cost-effective health care for patients of all ages. For more information, visit

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists - physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Its membership of 126,000 includes internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows. ACP's mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. For more information, visit

About The Center for Improving Medication Management
The Center for Improving Medication Management is committed to understanding how technology improves the way medications are prescribed and used safely and effectively by millions of patients every day. The Center was founded by the American Academy of Family Physicians, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the Medical Group Management Association and Surescripts. For more information, visit

About eHealth Initiative and its Foundation
The eHealth Initiative and its Foundation are independent, non-profit affiliated organizations whose missions are to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. eHI engages multiple stakeholders, including clinicians, consumers, employers, health plans, health IT suppliers, hospitals and other providers, laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, and state and local leaders to reach agreement on and drive the adoption of common principles, policies and best practices for improving health and health care through information technology. For more information, visit

About the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
MGMA is the premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Since 1926, MGMA has delivered networking, professional education and resources, and political advocacy for medical practice management. Today, MGMA's 22,500 members lead 13,600 organizations nationwide in which some 280,000 physicians provide more than 40 percent of the health care services delivered in the United States.

SOURCE: The American Medical Association (AMA)