Dayton, Ohio - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield launched a pilot e-prescribing program in two Ohio communities in an effort to reduce medication errors and the time physicians spend managing prescriptions.Currently, less than 22% of physicians nationwide use the basic capabilities of e-prescribing, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Baltimore, Md. CMS estimates that the use of such technology could eliminate as many as two million harmful drug events each year.

According to Anthem, other e-prescribing pilots have demonstrated that up to 2% of all prescriptions are changed due to alerts for potential safety issues that are delivered real time to physicians.

"This unique pilot program will benefit thousands of people in these communities," says Barry Malinowski, medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Southern Ohio. "Physicians will now have ample information at their fingertips to help them ensure the safety of their patients, to work more efficiently and to save their patients money on prescriptions."

The e-prescribing pilot will equip 100 physicians in Dayton and Warren/Youngstown with computer equipment and free use of an online tool that provides instant access to a patient's current formulary information and medication history. Incentives are available to physicians who e-prescribe and are eligible to participate in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's pay-for-performance programs in these areas.

The e-prescribing pilot provides real-time prescription support to physicians, including access to formularies, drug-drug and drug-allergy alerts, and a patient's medication history including medications prescribed by physicians outside of the practice.

The pilot program is expected to help reduce medical errors and improve patient safety by providing drug-specific information that helps eliminate confusion among drug names and improve communication between physicians and pharmacists.

In addition, the technology will allow physicians to send new prescriptions to the pharmacy of the patient's choice as well as process refill requests from those same pharmacies.

The e-prescribing project is a result of Anthem's collaboration with General Motors (GM), a private purchaser of health care in the United States. GM pays the health care costs of 1.1 million employees, retirees and dependents.

In addition to understanding the safety implications of e-prescribing, another objective of the pilot is to quantify the impact of e-prescribing on health care costs and efficiencies.

"Physicians who adopt the e-prescribing program in their practices will be able to use it for all patients, not just Anthem members or GM employees," says Sam Shalaby, director, Healthcare Initiatives, General Motors Corp. "We are pleased to collaborate with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to introduce and implement the next generation of health care initiatives. E-prescribing will assist in the delivery of high quality, efficient care that will impact thousands of people in Ohio."

Source: PR Newswire


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