E-Prescribing and the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003

Provisions of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 are intended to foster electronic prescribing by requiring standards for interoperability and by permitting third parties to offset implementation costs. Although physicians have been slow to embrace e-prescribing, adoption may increase in 2006, when a new tide of pharmacy messages will arrive from patients entering multi-tier drug coverage under Medicare. However, the e-prescribing systems selected may lack the advanced features needed to improve patient safety and chronic disease control. To optimize the return on Medicare drug spending, the government should consider additional incentives to spur the uptake of more advanced systems.