Physicians in the state of New York say they're mostly ready to begin prescribing drugs solely through electronic methods this week after being given an extra year to prepare. They'll be the first in the nation to face penalties if they fail to do so.
Enforcement will likely be tame in the beginning, as long as physicians can show they're trying to comply, said Dr. Joseph Maldonado Jr., president of the Medical Society of the State of New York.
Maldonado said the extra year has helped providers get the technology in place, although some have been granted waivers.
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker recently announced 12 circumstances in which a provider would be exempt from the mandate. Those include prescribing products with complex directions, or compounded drugs, which would be difficult to enter into an electronic system.
Zucker also acknowledged that e-prescribing isn't ideal for nonpatient-specific prescriptions, and that nursing homes likely won't be ready for the mandate because of economic and technological reasons.
Next month, the health department will reevaluate whether the software has improved to resolve the circumstances under which exemptions have been granted and whether nursing homes are better prepared to comply with the law, according to Zucker's announcement.
The e-prescribing mandate goes into effect nearly four years after the law originally passed. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last March extending the effective date for the law by a year after providers said they wouldn't be able to comply in time.