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12-25-2007, 11:13 PM
A Nov. 16 opinion piece about electronic prescribing written by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Pa.) is, "in large part, on the mark," but "their premise that change is in the hands of prescribers who require some sort of financial incentive is undercut by the fact that, by law, a significant percentage of prescription orders -- controlled substances -- may not be transmitted electronically," Karl Williams, an associate professor of pharmacy administration at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy (http://www.sjfc.edu/pharmacy/) at St. John Fisher College, writes in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor (Williams, Wall Street Journal, 11/21). In the opinion piece, Kerry and Gingrich wrote, "E-prescribing for Medicare is just the beginning of the modernization and digitization our ailing health care system urgently needs," adding, "A high-tech, healthier future is within our grasp" (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report (http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?hint=3&DR_ID=48915), 11/16).

"Eliminating poor handwriting will create a safer and more efficient medication use process," Williams writes. However, he adds, from the "prescribing practitioner's perspective, deciding to adopt e-prescribing for only a portion of the prescriptions issued is a half-measure that may actually result in decreased efficiency within a practice environment" (Wall Street Journal, 11/21).

Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org (http://www.kaisernetwork.org/). You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy (http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy). The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family FoundationŠ 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.