The CMS is working on finalizing standards that will be used to guide physicians using electronic prescribing through the Medicare Part D program.
Under the proposal, the CMS will implement standards for collecting and sharing medication history among prescribers, pharmacists and insurance companies in addition to providing a foundation for obtaining drug formulary and benefit status from patients.
Physicians also will be required to have a national identifier under the proposed standards.
Comments on the proposed rules are due to the federal agency by Jan. 15, 2008, and the CMS expects to implement final rules in April.
The CMS determined what standards it wants to implement through a draft proposal in 2005, which led to testing the standards in a pilot program last year.
Healthcare information technology supporters are praising the CMS for the proposed standards.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society "enthusiastically" supported e-prescribing practices outlined by the CMS when it first announced its proposed standards, the Chicago-based organization wrote in a 2005 statement. The group will conduct a series of teleconferencesbeginning Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. ESTto help members understand the CMS' final draft.
"The new e-prescribing standards provide a way for physicians to securely access clinical and economic decision-support information at the point of care, and help avert adverse drug events and allergic reactions," RxHub said in a news release.
The CMS is using St. Paul, Minn.-based RxHub's technology in its standard for formulary and benefit information.
In addition, the CMS is using medication history standards already used by the pharmacy health-information exchange operated by SureScripts, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based company.
"By providing access to a more complete electronic record of a patient's medication history, physicians are able to make a more thorough check for potentially harmful drug interactions and to make a more informed decision regarding drug treatment," SureScripts said in a written statement.
What do you think? Write us with your comments at [email protected]. Please include your name, title and hometown.