Minnesota leads the country in e-prescribing, making it one of the most safe and efficient places to get your medication. E-prescribing allows a prescriber to electronically send error-free prescriptions directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care, which decreases the risks associated with the traditional method of prescribing; research has shown that e-prescribing reduces medication error rates by almost sevenfold in community-based office practices, including elimination of errors due to illegible handwriting.
Minnesota's success is due to its collaborative approach, which is led by the Minnesota e-Health Initiative, a public-private collaborative established in 2004 that is guided by a 25-member advisory committee appointed by the commissioner of health to provide advice and feedback on policy making related to health information technology (HIT) in Minnesota.
The rankings are put out by Surescripts, the nation’s largest health information network. For 2011 and are determined by an analysis of data that measures the electronic prescribing use by physicians, pharmacies and payers in each state. Minnesota came in first place for e-prescribing in Surescripts’ 7th annual Safe-Rx Awards. See Surescripts profile of Minnesota here.
In response to Minnesota being named number 1 by Surescripts, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Ed Ehlinger, emphasized the importance of cooperation. "E-prescribing has been a collaborative effort in Minnesota, and we want to congratulate the providers, pharmacists, health plans, patient groups, and public health professionals who have all joined together to improve the safety and efficiency of prescribing medicine in Minnesota."
In its objective to maintain safe, high-quality patient prescriptions, Minnesota health care has made significant gains through its use of e-prescribing. In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature enacted an e-prescribing mandate, which requires prescribers, pharmacists, pharmacies, and pharmacy benefit managers to be e-prescribing by January 1, 2011. In June 2009, the Minnesota e-Health Initiative released A Practical Guide to Electronic Prescribing. In 2011 and again in 2012, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) launched the Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange to provide financial support for implementation.
Although substantial progress has been made in Minnesota’s use of e-prescribing, there is still room for future growth and development. In 2011, 91 percent of pharmacies, 68 percent of clinics, 39 percent of hospitals, and three percent of nursing homes were e-prescribing. "Though the trends are heading in the right direction and it is nice to receive a No. 1 ranking, we are not resting on our laurels. There is still a lot of work to be done to completely eliminate a reliance on paper prescriptions in Minnesota," said Marty LaVenture, director of Office of Health Information Technology and e-health at the Minnesota Department of Health.