Government Urges Doctors to go Paperless

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By Lisa Kunkel

WASHINGTON (AP) - Doctors increasingly are ditching the prescription pad. The latest count shows more than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic.

The government has been pushing doctors to e-prescribe, in part because it can be safer for patients. Drugstores don't have to decipher messy handwriting. And ordering via computer lets the doctor see if the new drug will interact badly with one the patient already takes. Starting this year, Medicare is cutting payments to certain doctors who stick with paper.

Surescripts, the largest network for paperless prescribing, found 390,000 doctors were e-prescribing at least some last year, and more are signing up fast. Some 36 percent of all prescriptions were electronic in 2011. That's up from 22 percent of prescriptions a year earlier.
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