E-prescribing: Just do it, says pace-setting Minnesota law

June 13, 2008

Minnesota physicians must begin sending their prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically by 2011, according to the first state law of its kind.

Minnesota physicians must begin sending their prescriptions to the pharmacyelectronically by 2011, according to the first state law of its kind.

The law, passed in May and signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, requires physicians to use software not only for sending prescriptions to the pharmacy, but also receiving messages in return. The measure sets the same deadline as a bill in the US Senate that would require physicians to e-prescribe for Medicare patients or take a pay cut. Other states have set goals for e-prescribing, but the Gopher State is the first to actually make it a requirement, says Rob Cronin, a spokesperson for SureScripts, a pharmacy industry group that promotes e-prescribing.

Minnesota also is the first state to require physicians to implement interoperable EHRs, with the deadline set for 2015. The legislation mandating electronic prescriptions specified that EHRs used by physicians must be certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, which performs this vetting under contract to the US Department of Health and Human Services.