Manchester, N.H. — New Hampshire physicians will now have real-time access to medical records and medical histories for their Anthem patients virtually anywhere they can receive an internet signal, thanks to a new program from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire.

“Now all licensed New Hampshire practitioners who are part of our ePrescribing program also are able to access both medical records and claims data on Anthem members, anytime, anywhere by using their Web-enabled cell phone,” says Richard Lafleur, M.D., medical director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, who asds that participants also can access the new program from their office or home computer.

Last October, in an effort to improve patient safety, control costs and reduce medication errors, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative, created by Gov. John Lynch, launched a state-wide electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) program for every physician office in the state to use for all of their patients, regardless of health plan. ePrescribing alerts physicians to potential dangerous drug interactions and enables licensed practitioners to generate a prescription electronically and then transmit it to a pharmacy.

The addition of the new technology—known as Member Medical History (MMH)—further enhances the ePrescribing tool by delivering clinical information to the physician wherever he or she may be. Now, the doctor looking to generate an electronic prescription is able to quickly access their Anthem patient’s medical history, getting information on medical conditions and the patient’s most recent care, test results or diagnoses by other clinicians.

“Having access to up-to-the-minute information on what is going on with a patient and their health can be vital in helping determine the best care decisions possible, says Azar Korbey, M.D., a family practitioner from Salem, N.H. “This latest enhancement to an already solid program greatly supports that process.”

While physicians can access ePrescribing as well as the new enhancement from a variety of cellular carriers, participants who enter into a two-year service agreement with Sprint receive a free hand-held device (the HTC 6800 Windows Mobile Device).

“Putting even more comprehensive information in the physician’s hands at the time care decisions are being made improves quality and efficiency,” says Charles Kennedy, M.D., VP of health information technology for Anthem. “ePrescribing and MMH are good examples of how Anthem can use technology to create a community benefit for all patients while still delivering unique value for our members.”

More than 3 billion prescriptions are written annually in the United States, with medication errors resulting in $77 billion in costs and 7,000 deaths per year (Institute of Medicine, 2006). Currently, fewer than 22% of physicians nationwide use the basic capabilities of electronic prescribing, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS estimates that the use of such technology could eliminate as many as 2 million harmful drug events each year. Electronic prescribing pilots have demonstrated that up to 2% of all prescriptions transmitted this way get changed before being administered to the patient because ePrescribing has alerted the physician to potential safety problems.

The ePrescribing program is supported by the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI), a coalition of health care and technology companies that have joined together to provide free ePrescribing technology for every physician in America.

Source: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

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