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NACDS to Congress: Health IT key to Rx adherence
July 20th, 2010
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Health information technology (HIT) solutions such as electronic prescribing and electronic medication records are vital to helping patients take their medications correctly, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said in a statement submitted to Congress.
NACDS submitted its statement to the Health Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, which on Tuesday hosted a hearing titled, "Efforts to Promote the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology (HIT)." The effort continued NACDS' campaign to raise awareness of pharmacy’s ability to help boost medication adherence, in turn improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs.
"Chain pharmacy has been on the leading edge of the adoption of HIT for many years," NACDS wrote in the statement. "We have been actively involved in fostering the use of technology to improve the quality of patient care and developing standards to allow the exponential growth of HIT in pharmacy practice. Pharmacy HIT systems assist pharmacy with providing critical patient care services such as medication therapy management (MTM) and evaluation of patients' adherence to prescribed drug therapy regimens, in addition to providing pharmacists with information on patients’ prescribed drugs, potential drug-to-drug interactions and drug dosing."
MTM refers to counseling by pharmacists and other steps to help patients improve health by taking medications correctly and reducing the risk of adverse events. NACDS emphasizes that such counseling requires reliable patient information and that electronic prescribing "is the most critical prerequisite for the adoption and use of electronic health records and other forms of HIT."
NACDS urged the inclusion of pharmacy in programs designed to foster widespread HIT adoption.
"As the most consumer-accessible health care provider, pharmacy's critical role should be recognized in the development of an interoperable health care system. As such, pharmacies should be considered for any grant or incentive funding that fosters further adoption of HIT," the association said in the statement.
NACDS also noted the importance of legislation in the House (H.R. 3108) and Senate (S. 3543) that would improve the Medicare Part D benefit. NACDS is waging a long-term campaign to raise awareness of the ability of MTM to help patients take medications correctly. The cost of poor medication adherence has been estimated by the New England Healthcare Institute to cost as much as $290 billion annually, or 13% of total health care expenditures.