Docs get wired in California e-prescribing initiative

By Kyle Hardy
10:20 AM

In an effort to push forward the State of California's goal of a wired health system, The California Public Employee's Retirement System has partnered with Anthem Blue Cross, Medco Health Solutions, Inc., and Blue Shield of California.

The objective of these new partnerships is to deploy a statewide e-prescribing platform, the largest initiative in the state's history.

A physician office uses e-prescribing, through an automated data entry system, to electronically submit a patient prescription to a chosen pharmacy. This gives physicians real-time access to safety and prescription coverage information, enabling a more informed prescribing decision.

"We believe that e-prescribing is the first step to wiring health care, and that working well with doctors is essential to e-prescribing's success," said John P. Driscoll, Medco's president of new markets. "Our initiative will help us identify how to best transition to technology solutions that will help doctors improve outcomes and lower costs."

The first stages of the initiative will employ the use of physician input to determine best practices for proper use of e-prescribing technology in medical practices. Preventable adverse drug reactions will be tracked by the initiative's organizers as well as the use of e-prescribing and drug/formulary prescribing rates.

"e-Prescribing is about safety and convenience for patients – it assures that a patient's doctor is aware of any potential harmful interactions between a new prescription and the medicines the patient is already taking, and that the medication being prescribed is covered by the patient's health plan," said Daniel Bluestone, MD, medical director, Sante Community Physicians in Fresno, California. "In short, e-Prescribing is about getting the right medicine to the right patient as quickly and safely as possible."

A report will be filed at the end of the pilot to present the findings and results.

One of the focuses in the pilot program is to address barriers providers face with e-prescribing. The project involves working with physicians that provide care to members of CalPERS and other community patients.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California will be collaborating with providers to address and overcome these barriers in an effort to make e-prescribing more effective for both the physician and patient outcomes.

"e-Prescribing reduces medication errors, lowers prescription drug costs and decreases administrative costs for physicians and pharmacies," said Nancy Stalker, vice president, pharmacy benefit management, Blue Shield of California. "At Blue Shield of California, we are committed to improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare, and we expect this pilot program to help speed the adoption of e-Prescribing throughout California."