The concept of e-prescribing was started to make the entire prescribing and medication management process safe and cost effective. Since its inception, the government initiatives have played a major role in the growth of the e-prescribing market, especially in Europe and North America. Though the market in these regions grew tremendously due to robust healthcare infrastructure, it would not have been possible had the governments in these regions not envisaged the future of healthcare sector through e-prescribing.
epSOS Fuelled the E-Prescribing Market in Europe
In Europe, the European Patient Smart Open Services (epSOS) has been designed to offer cross-border interoperability of electronic health record systems across 25 European nations which include 22 EU member states. The project is worth €365 million, co-funded by the European Commission Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP). The project contributed significantly in the e-prescribing market by providing secure access to the health information of patients across different European healthcare systems.
I-STOP Made an Impact on North America’s E-Prescribing Market
In 2012, the New York state adopted Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) law to reduce drug diversions and prescribing of controlled substances to patients who “shop” doctors to get hold of these prescriptions. The law has specified physicians in the state to consult a statewide electronic database before they issued e-prescriptions for controlled substances. This also allows pharmacists to accept, dispense, and archive the e-prescriptions. Later on, a mandate issued a deadline of March 2015 to file all prescriptions electronically. However, a bill has been recently signed by the state governor to delay the mandate date by a year, owing to software delivery delays and other technical challenges.
E-Prescribing Market: A Playground for Governments and Private Players
When healthcare providers in New York State were rushing to upgrade their systems to meet the government deadline of March 2015, Surescripts, the country’s largest electronic prescribing network was smiling. During the past one year, Surescripts has processed 1 billion prescriptions and its services have quadrupled since March with 130 health systems signing up for its services. It has already added 1000 hospitals to its network this year. Not only electronic prescribing network players have been benefitted, the electronic health record vendors are also cheering. Epic Systems Corp., the dominant vendor of electronic health record that connects to Surescript’s clinical messaging service, has been gaining a number of clients through Surescript.
Though the number of hospitals and health systems signing up for the clinical messaging service is high, the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) requested the state legislators to delay the mandate deadline as many of the electronic health record vendors used by the prescribers are not approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Electronic prescribing systems are required to be certified by the State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and a large number of the vendors are not yet certified. Prescribers have complained that even certified systems reported problems related to software and passwords. Once medical prescribers are ready with upgraded and certified systems after one year, the e-prescribing market will witness a massive growth in the U.S.