AHRQ requests comments on e-prescribing project
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is accepting public comments about its request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve a proposed e-prescribing project: the Health IT Community Tracking Study 2009.    

The agency said that e-prescribing is “a central focus of efforts to promote health IT and is of particular interest to AHRQ because of its potential to improve patient safety by reducing medication errors.” Also, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides incentives for meaningful use of EHR technology, which includes the use of e-prescribing.  

Despite many public- and private-sector initiatives to support e-prescribing, to date, physician adoption and use has been limited, the agency noted. 

AHRQ is proposing to conduct a qualitative research study designed to help build knowledge on how the e-prescribing features required under HIPPA are being implemented and used by physicians and pharmacies in 12 nationally representative communities. These communities have been studied longitudinally since the mid-1990s as part of the Center for Studying Health System Change Community Tracking Study.  

According to the agency, collected information will inform strategies to promote the adoption and effective use of e-prescribing being developed by AHRQ and other Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), as well as state and local governments and private healthcare organizations.  

Interviews will be conducted at 110 organizations over two years. Within each of the 24 participating physician practices (12 annually), two interviews will be conducted: One with the medical director or physician-user best able to describe practice processes for e-prescribing to provide a clinical perspective, and a second with an IT administrator or office manager to provide a technical and operational perspective. The other 86 organizations will each have only one interview, for a total of 43 additional interviews annually.

AHRQ estimated that total cost for the project will be $374,635 over a two-year period.  

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the AHRQ is inviting the public to comment on this proposed information collection. The proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on June 30 and allowed 60 days for public comment. However, the agency did not receive any comments. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.  

Comments must be received by Oct. 1.