|E-Prescribing Used to Track Swine Flu||| Print ||
Rhode Island, working with Surescripts, is the first state to use prescription data from electronic prescriptions for disease surveillance, in this case tracking the use of antiviral medications during the H1N1 pandemic.
Epidemiologists at the Rhode Island Department of Health are receiving weekly updates of prescription data from pharmacies throughout the state. Participating are CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, and Walgreens. The information reported through Surescripts, which is de-identified to protect patient privacy, is used to see where there are spikes in prescriptions for Tamiflu and other antiviral medications.
The tracking system is a result of the widespread adoption of e-prescribing in the state. Every Rhode Island pharmacy can receive prescriptions that are e-prescribed. And according to Surescripts, 63% of prescribers in the state are using electronic prescriptions. This tracking system is viewed as one more advantage of electronic prescriptions, in addition to avoiding medication errors due to legibility issues with handwritten prescriptions.