Improving access and quality while reducing expenditures in the United States health system is expected to be a priority for many years. The use of health information technology (HIT), including electronic prescribing (eRx), is an important initiative in efforts aimed at improving safety and outcomes, increasing quality, and decreasing costs. Data from eRx has been used in studies that document reductions in medication errors, adverse drug events, and pharmacy order-processing time. Evaluating programs and initiatives intended to improve health care can be facilitated through the use of HIT and eRx. eRx data can be used to conduct research to answer questions about the outcomes of health care products, services, and new clinical initiatives with the goal of providing guidance for clinicians and policy makers. Given the recent explosive growth of eRx in the United States, the purpose of this manuscript is to assess the value and suggest enhanced uses and applications of eRx to facilitate the role of the practitioner in contributing to health economics and outcomes research.
Keywords: electronic prescribing; health information technology; outcomes research.