The Nation's Orthopaedic Surgeons Join Provider-led Electronic Prescribing Initiative

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) announced their participation in "Get Connected," a program designed to help more of the nation's physicians and other prescribers use electronic prescribing. Now backed by 17 of the nation's leading medical associations, Get Connected is intended to help physicians and other prescribers take advantage of current Medicare incentives aimed at increasing the adoption and use of e-prescribing. Beginning in 2011, incentives may also be available to physicians and other prescribers who use e-prescribing as part of an electronic health record. These additional incentives fall under the HITECH provisions within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"There are many different activities driving the adoption of electronic prescribing by orthopaedic surgeons," said Stephen Makk, MD, MBA, Chair of the AAOS Practice Management Committee. "Two key drivers are the CMS-sponsored E-Prescribing Incentive Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Through participation in the Get Connected program, the AAOS goal is to provide members with an expanded resource where they can obtain comprehensive information and support on best practices for adoption of necessary technologies for secure, direct electronic connectivity to pharmacies and payer organizations."

During the next four years, Medicare is providing incentive payments to eligible professionals who are successful electronic prescribers, as defined by the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). Eligible professionals receive a 2 percent incentive payment in 2009 and 2010; a 1 percent incentive payment in 2011 and 2012; and a 0.5 percent incentive payment in 2013. Beginning January 1, 2009, those physicians using a qualified system to send electronic prescriptions (at the rate defined by MIPPA) started to receive higher levels of reimbursement under Medicare. A qualified system must be able to do all of the following:

1. Generate a medication list

2. Select medications, transmit prescriptions electronically using the applicable standards, and warn the physician of possible undesirable or unsafe situations

3. Provide information on lower-cost, therapeutically appropriate alternatives

4. Provide information on formulary or tiered formulary medications, patient eligibility, and authorization requirements received electronically from the patient's drug plan

Go to to view a list of systems that have been certified and the functionality for which they have been certified. Physicians and other prescribers should check with their vendor to confirm that their system is qualified under MIPPA guidelines and to request activation of services that deliver the required functionality.

The focal point of the Get Connected program is an online portal - - where physicians and other prescribers can follow a step-by-step process designed to help them transition from paper-based prescribing to e-prescribing. Since its launch in March 2008, the Get Connected program has generated significant results:

- Thousands of communications from participating medical societies to their members promoting and educating members on e-prescribing

- More than 6,800 completed technology assessments

- More than 2,400 prescribers subsequently got connected

Electronic prescribing, or "e-prescribing," replaces the need for handwritten, printed or faxed prescriptions and is seen as a more accurate and efficient means of prescribing medications. Because it is paperless, e-prescribing is also regarded as a secure alternative to paper prescriptions that can be stolen, copied, forged and otherwise manipulated.

In addition to the AAOS, Get Connected is supported by the:

- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
- American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- American College of Cardiology (ACC)
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- American College of Physicians (ACP)
- American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
- American Optometric Association (AOA)
- American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
- American Urological Association (AUA)
- Connecticut State Medical Society
- Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
- Tennessee State Medical Association
- Texas Medical Association (TMA)

If you are a member of a state medical society or national provider organization and would like to get more information about how your membership can Get Connected for e-prescribing, please contact Kate Berry ([email protected]), executive director at The Center for Improving Medication Management and senior vice president for business development at Surescripts.

Created under the auspices of The Center for Improving Medication Management (founded by the AAFP, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the MGMA and Surescripts), contains urgent information and guidance for thousands of physicians and other prescribers located throughout the United States that are currently using electronic medical record (EMR) and other clinical software to fax prescriptions to pharmacies. Computer-generated faxing of prescriptions prevents physicians and other prescribers from achieving the gains in practice efficiency and patient safety associated with e-prescribing. (Important Note to Physicians and Other Prescribers Using EMRs: Most EMR users believe that they already send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically - i.e., they are unaware that it is far more likely that their EMR is generating faxes that arrive on paper at the pharmacy's fax machine. Physicians and other prescribers using EMR systems that can only send computer-generated, faxed prescriptions will not be eligible for the Medicare incentives for e-prescribing.)

How to Get Connected

Following the completion of a brief self-assessment on, physicians and their staffs can find out if the software brand and version they are using is certified to generate e-prescriptions compliant with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT standard, as required by the new Medicare incentives. The SCRIPT standard facilitates the electronic transmission of prescriptions and prescription-related information.

The Get Connected program is equally intended for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and practice management professionals who have yet to invest in EMR or other clinical software. The portal provides guidance on how to evaluate and acquire technology that supports e-prescribing. also helps physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and practice management professionals assess the financial impact of e-prescribing using an interactive feature that allows them to calculate an estimate of the time and resources their practice is currently dedicating to the manual processing of prescriptions.

About The Center for Improving Medication Management

The Center for Improving Medication Management is committed to understanding how technology improves the way medications are prescribed and used safely and effectively by millions of patients every day. The Center was founded by the American Academy of Family Physicians, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Humana Inc., Intel Corporation, the Medical Group Management Association and Surescripts.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons