e-Rx "on ramp" to an electronic healthcare highway for docs

Nearly 1,000 affiliated physicians of Huntington Memorial Hospital, a 636-bed, not-for-profit hospital in Southern California, are moving to electronic prescribing, a step which hospital officials say will help bring them closer to an electronic healthcare record.

The hospital is offering its affiliated physicians a branded version of Chicago-based Allscripts's stand-alone solution called HuntingtonRx.

"The deployment of an e-prescribing system to our affiliated physicians is another example of Huntington's commitment to provide the necessary resources to improve patient care," said Stephen Ralph, chief executive officer of Huntington Memorial Hospital. "For many of our physicians, this will be the first step toward an electronic health record. I look forward to working with our physicians and Allscripts as partners in creating better and safer care for our patients."

Huntington officials say moving their doctors over to an electronic system will help them meet the requirements for receiving the federal government's $3,500 in annual incentives that begin this year. HuntingtonRx is also the first introduction to the information and connectivity offered by a full EHR, added Allscripts officials.

"HuntingtonRx is the on-ramp to the electronic healthcare highway for physicians and Huntington is taking a leadership role by working with physicians to provide them with the tools to provide higher quality, safer care," said Glen Tullman, chief executive officer of Allscripts.

According to an Institute of Medicine study, 1.5 million Americans are injured each year and 7,000 die from preventable medical errors. The authors of the 2006 study recommended that all U.S. physicians adopt electronic prescribing by 2010.

The federal government will begin imposing penalties on those who do not e-prescribe beginning in 2012.