Six healthcare advocacy organizations have released an updated 2011 Guide to E-Prescribing, including Meaningful Use criteria under the HITECH Act.   The document is a comprehensive guide for practices covering acquisition, implementation and utilization of e-prescribing technology. The original version was published in 2008, which is now relatively antiquated — technology years being roughly equivalent to dog years. The organizations are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, the Center for Improving Medication Management, the eHealth Initiative and the Medical Group Management Association.

                In addition to the advent of HITECH, the six organizations cited the continued and dramatic growth in e-prescribing adoption and use, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s rule allowing e-prescribing of controlled substances, and the passage of healthcare reform as the reasons an updated Guide was needed. 

                The Guide outlines the standards which must be met to qualify for HITECH incentive funds, the eligibility requirements for the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) incentive payments, and the forthcoming Medicare payment reductions for failure to use e-prescribing that will begin to take effect in 2012. The Guide includes plain-English advice recommendations to help clinicians adopt and implement e-prescribing which will form the foundation of meaningful use of EHR.   Appendices include a Buyers Guide; Frequently Asked Questions; Additional Resources; Meaningful Use Criteria and Vision; and Application Requirements for the Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances.

                The six groups have created a practical and highly-readable resource for practices and healthcare entities seeking to start e-prescribing as well as those who are currently using electronic prescribing technology but want to be sure they will qualify for available incentives.