A prescriber's ability to electronically send an accurate, error-free and understandable prescription directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care - is an important element in improving the quality of patient care. The inclusion of electronic prescribing in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 gave momentum to the movement, and the July 2006 Institute of Medicine report on the role of e-prescribing in reducing medication errors received widespread publicity, helping to build awareness of e-prescribing's role in enhancing patient safety. Adopting the standards to facilitate e-prescribing is one of the key action items in the governments plan to expedite the adoption of electronic medical records and build a national electronic health information infrastructure in the
The MMA created a new voluntary prescription drug benefit under Medicare Part D. Although e-prescribing will be optional for physicians and pharmacies, Medicare Part D will require drug plans participating in the new prescription benefit to support electronic prescribing.
- On November 7, 2005, CMS published the first set of adopted standards known as the foundation standards. The foundation standards became effective on January 1, 2006. These standards apply to all electronic prescribing done under Part D of the MMA.
- MMA required CMS to implement pilot projects to test additional standards. These additional standards were pilot tested in 2006.
- On June 23, 2006 CMS published an interim final rule with comment to adopt NCPDP SCRIPT Standard version 8.1 on a voluntary basis to be used for e-prescribing.
- The results of the pilot test were announced in a report to Congress in April 2007 and were the basis for an NPRM proposing additional standards that was published on November 16, 2007.
- The final e-prescribing rule was published at the Federal Register on April 7, 2008. In this final rule CMS adopted 3 additional standards for use in e-prescribing under part D.