The benefits for patient safety and patient outcomes of moving from prescribing on paper to E-prescribing have been demonstrated mainly in acute settings.

As primary care is being computerised in the US, there are new opportunities to study the effects of e-Prescribing in this area.

A recent paper by Powers et al, published on JAMIA, notes how “after Meaningful Use (MU) objectives in 2010 made e-prescribing a requirement, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began requiring that source of the original prescription (handwritten, e-prescribed, etc.) be reported on prescription drug events (PDEs) submitted to CMS”. The availability of these data made possible researching databases of patients outcomes, in relation to the ‘materiality’ (digital or otherwise) of the prescription.