SOURCE: Surescripts

August 15, 2007 08:00 ET

Electronic Prescribing Now Legal Nationwide

Alaska Adopts Regulations Allowing E-Prescribing, Making Safer and More Efficient Prescribing Available to Physicians, Pharmacists and Patients in All 50 States and Washington, D.C.

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - August 15, 2007) - Beginning this week, physicians and pharmacists in the state of Alaska are now legally allowed to exchange prescription information electronically. On the heels of similar announcements over the past year by Georgia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, Alaska becomes the 50th and final state to pass changes to its laws and regulations to allow for electronic prescribing, or "e-prescribing." The news marks a major milestone for the United States healthcare system and its efforts to transform how patients receive prescription drugs -- from a process reliant on handwritten prescriptions, phone calls and fax machines to safer, more efficient electronic prescribing.

"When the nation's community pharmacies launched the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™ into full production at the beginning of 2004, we had the technical capability in our network to support e-prescribing between physicians and pharmacists anywhere in the nation," said Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO of SureScripts®. "At that time, however, only about half of the states had laws and regulations that would even allow electronic prescribing. Today, we are proud to announce that all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. now allow their physicians and pharmacists to electronically exchange prescriptions and lifesaving prescription information."

"Community pharmacy is vital to the health care system, and e-prescribing is another step forward for the efficiency and safety of patient care," said Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. "This will prove a wise move for all 50 states."

"This is a significant milestone as momentum continues to grow nationwide for electronic prescribing," said Bruce Roberts, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) executive vice president and CEO. "The ability for pharmacists and physicians to communicate electronically means enhanced safety and efficiency for everyone. We are pleased to see this goal realized and look forward to increased utilization between physicians and pharmacists."

To capitalize on the opportunity for safer and more cost-efficient prescribing, SureScripts, which operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, is working closely with community pharmacies throughout Alaska to immediately activate previously certified computer systems for electronic prescribing. SureScripts has certified the software solutions being used by more than 95 percent of the nation's retail pharmacies. As a result, the majority of Alaska's 86 community pharmacies can now begin accepting electronic prescriptions and electronically processing refill authorizations, and join the more than two-thirds of the nation's pharmacies actively exchanging prescription information.

A graphic comparing the legal and regulatory status of e-prescribing in the U.S. today versus when the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange was launched into full production is available at www.surescripts.com/regulatory.

About SureScripts

Founded by the pharmacy industry in 2001, SureScripts® operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, which facilitates the secure electronic transmission of prescription information between physicians and pharmacists and provides access to lifesaving information about patients during emergencies or routine care. Today, more than 95 percent of all pharmacies and all major physician technology vendors in the United States are certified on the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange. More information about SureScripts is available at http://www.surescripts.com.

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