Rhode Island leads the nation in the percentage of doctors sending prescriptions electronically to pharmacists.
SureScripts, the Virginia-based company that operates the electronic prescription network system, said Rhode Island was highest with about 20% of practicing doctors connected to the system, but it was not clear how many of them use it extensively.
Rhode Island became the first state to adopt the electronic system three years ago.
The company, in marking Rhode Island's distinction as the nation's leader, also honored Cranston doctor Yul Ejnes, considered a pioneer in e-prescribing.
SureScripts said more than 90% of prescriptions in the state are still being scribbled the old-fashioned way and handed out to patients who would have to make the trip to the pharmacy with the piece of paper.
Even Ejnes admits he still keeps his prescription pad and uses the system primarily for refills.
Still, Ejnes says using the system has saved his staff up to two hours of work each day and he has to pay only $39 a month for an Internet-based software program.
Doctors are not using the system for new prescriptions because there are no terminals in the exam rooms or where the doctors write their prescriptions. But that may soon change.
Ejnes, who is leading a separate effort to adopt electronic medical records around the state, expects his office to go paperless this summer. When doctors have wireless personal computers to take with them to the exam rooms, all prescriptions will also be electronic.
SureScripts is active in 47 states and is adding 250 doctors a week, said Kevin Hutchinson, president and chief executive officer of the company. After Rhode Island, the other top e-prescribing states were, in order: Nevada, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan.
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