Press Releases

On Eve of Deadline for Using Tamper-Resistant Prescription Pads, Physician Leaders Expand Electronic Prescribing Initiative

AOA Joins AAFP, AAP, ACC, ACOG and MGMA in Helping More Physicians Get Connected for E-Prescribing

WASHINGTON, D.C. - March 31, 2008 - The American Osteopathic Association today announced their participation in "Get Connected," a new program designed to help more physicians begin sending prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. The focal point of the Get Connected program is an online portal - - where physicians can follow a step-by-step process designed to help them transition from paper-based prescribing to e-prescribing.

The announcement comes one day before the April 1 deadline whereby all Medicaid prescriptions must be written on tamper-resistant paper. The deadline, however, does not apply to electronic prescriptions. Congress mandated the use of tamper-resistant pads for all Medicaid prescriptions, but specifically allowed for e-prescribing as an alternative even to tamper-resistant paper. Electronic prescribing, or "e-prescribing," replaces the need for handwritten, printed
or faxed prescriptions and is seen as a more accurate and efficient means of prescribing medications. And because it is paperless, e-prescribing is also regarded as a secure alternative to paper prescriptions which can be stolen, copied, forged and otherwise manipulated.

The news of broader support for Get Connected within the nation's physician community comes less than one month after the launch of the program at a March 4 event on Capitol Hill by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Created under the auspices of The Center for Improving Medication Management (founded by the AAFP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the MGMA and SureScripts), contains urgent information and guidance for an estimated 150,000 prescribers located throughout the U.S. that are currently using electronic medical record (EMR) and other clinical software to fax prescriptions to pharmacies.

Computer-generated faxing of prescriptions not only prevents physicians from achieving the gains in practice efficiency and patient safety associated with e-prescribing, but starting on January 1, 2009, all computer-generated
prescriptions covered by the Medicare Part D program must be transmitted electronically and not via computergenerated fax. (Important Note to Physicians Using EMRs: Most EMR users believe that they already send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically - i.e. they are unaware that it is far more likely that their EMR is generating faxes that arrive on paper at the pharmacy's fax machine. These computer-generated, faxed prescriptions will not be in compliance with the new Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) Part D regulations.)

Through, physicians and their staffs can find out if the software brand and version they are using is certified to generate e-prescriptions compliant with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT standard as required by the new Medicare regulations. The SCRIPT standard facilitates the electronic transmission of prescriptions and prescription-related information. Following the completion of a brief selfassessment, visitors to can receive a free, personalized report that indicates the compliance status of their existing software and that can be used to request an electronic connection to pharmacies through their vendor.

The Get Connected program is equally intended for physicians and practice management professionals who have yet to invest in EMR or other clinical software. The portal provides guidance on how to evaluate and acquire technology that supports e-prescribing. also helps physicians and practice management professionals to assess the financial impact of e-prescribing using an interactive feature that allows them to calculate an estimate of the time and resources their practice is currently dedicating to the manual processing of prescriptions.

"The AOA is excited about joining 'Get Connected' and offering our osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) tools and resources to help prepare them for the impending transition to electronic prescribing," said Darryl A. Beehler, D.O., an
American Osteopathic Association past president and representative to the Physicians' Electronic Health Records Coalition. "Switching to e-prescribing will not only reduce D.O.s' practice expenses but will allow them to concentrate
on working with their patients to help them lead healthy lifestyles."

E-Prescribing: An Opportunity to Save Time, Dollars and Lives

There remains a sizable opportunity to increase the adoption and use of e-prescribing nationwide. Although SureScripts estimates that more than 100 million prescription transactions will be routed electronically in 2008, that
number represents only 7 percent of eligible prescriptions (see The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing at The realization of e-prescribing's full potential represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve patient safety and the efficiency of the prescribing process. According to the Center for Information Technology Leadership, use of electronic prescribing with an electronic connection to pharmacy and advanced decision-support capabilities could help prevent 130,000 life-threatening medication errors annually. By eliminating paper from the prescribing process, and particularly by automating prescription renewals, e-prescribing has been proven to offer significant time savings by reducing prescription-related phone calls and faxes, allowing prescribers
and their staffs more time to care for their patients. A study by MGMA's Group Practice Research Network estimated that administrative complexity related to prescriptions costs practices $15,700 a year for each full-time physician -
that does not even take into consideration the time and cost of managing faxes.  Multiplying that figure by an estimated 563,000 office-based physicians currently practicing and prescribing medications in the United States reveals an opportunity for e-prescribing to significantly reduce the up to estimated $8.8 billion worth of physician and staff time spent on the phone clarifying prescription information.

About the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 61,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for D.O.s; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical colleges; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities.

The Center for Improving Medication Management

The Center for Improving Medication Management serves as an industry resource by gathering and disseminating best and worst practices related to technology deployment for electronic medication management and for leveraging that technology and connectivity to test innovative approaches to improve patient adherence with prescribed medications. The Center was founded by American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and SureScripts. More information about The Center is available at

Press Contacts:

Rob Cronin
For The Center for Improving Medication Management

Amanda Denning
913-906-6000, ext. 5223

Susan Martin

Amy Murphy

Vicki Martinka

Liz Johnson
303-799-1111, ext. 1347