New York’s e-Prescribing Mandate: Electronic Submission, Transmission Soon to be the Law

Prescribers and pharmacists in New York State risk reprimands and fines if they are unable to electronically prescribe and fill prescriptions for patients next year.

Beginning March 27, 2015, the State of New York will require that all prescriptions, including those for controlled substances, be transmitted in electronic format. Prescribers and pharmacists must have a secure system for electronic submission from computer to computer.

Under this impending mandate, electronic prescriptions must:

  • Be created, recorded, transmitted and/or stored by electronic means
  • Contain the electronic signature of the provider
  • Prevent unauthorized access, alteration or use by means of electronic encryption
  • Have the initials or signature of the pharmacists (or pharmacy intern) entered into the pharmacy’s records to indicate acceptance of the prescription by the pharmacy
  • Have the ability to be reconstructed in the event pf a computer malfunction or accident, resulting in the destruction of data

To read a full list of guidelines, visit

How did this happen?

In August 2013, the New York state legislature passed the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP). The impetus for this law is supported by studies that show frightening results:

  • More than 15,000 people die annually from prescription drug abuse, which is more than from use of cocaine and heroin combined [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
  • As many as 777,000 people die or are injured annually from adverse drug interactions [Surescripts]
  • Eighty-eight out of 100 hand-written prescriptions lead to legibility errors, which can result in dangerous medication mistakes or medication delays [Weill Cornell Medical College]
  • The country spends an estimated $2 billion annually dealing with adverse drug events [Institute of Medicine]
  • Approximately 125,000 premature and preventable deaths due to clients failing to adhere to medication treatments [World Health Organization]

New York is the first state to mandate that all substances be electronically prescribed. I-STOP will enable prescribers and pharmacists to better monitor all prescriptions to ensure the proper patients are receiving needed medications in the proper dosages. Doctors and pharmacists must be registered with the New York Department of Health and access its Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when prescribing and dispensing medications. They will also have access to patient medication histories to help determine future dispensations, potential abuse or "doctor-shopping."

The deadline for compliance with I-STOP is March 27, 2015. It can take up to six months to purchase and implement an e-Prescribing solution. Learn more about Netsmart’s OrderConnect solution.

What will New York prescribers, pharmacists and clients gain from I-STOP?

E-Prescribing has been proven to reduce medication errors, increase medication adherence, improve client outcomes and safety, and reduce cost.

When prescribers and pharmacists implement e-Prescribing, the results are striking:

  • Medication errors have been shown to drop from 37 out of 100 to seven out of 100, saving lives [National Health Institute]
  • Medication adherence has been shown to increase by about 10 percent, resulting is as much as $240 billion in improved outcomes over the next 10 years [Surescripts]
  • Time on phone calls to and from pharmacies has been shown to be reduced, resulting in as much as $20,000 in annual savings per physician’s office [US Department of Health and Human Services]
  • Drug recalls can be managed more efficiently because e-Prescribing solutions enable pharmacists to trace certain medications to specific patients and expedite delivery of pertinent information [EMR Consultant]

The deadline for compliance with I-STOP is March 27, 2015. It can take up to six months to purchase and implement an e-Prescribing solution. Learn more about Netsmart’s OrderConnect solution.