News | November 15, 2007

National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative Supports Medicare in Adopting More Standards

November 16, 2007 - Clinical software provider Allscripts, on behalf of the National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI), strongly supports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal for the adoption of additional standards to be used by participants in the Medicare prescription drug benefit program when they prescribe electronically.

Supporters say the proposed new standards would help eliminate medication errors and the inefficiencies of a process that relies on handwritten paper prescriptions.

If the CMS standards are adopted after a public review period, physicians who prescribe electronically for Medicare patients would be required to have secure access to their patient's medication history, information about their drug coverage, standard patient instructions for taking medications, and a clinical drug nomenclature with standard names for medications. Physicians who know what medications their patients are taking and what drugs their insurance plan covers can prevent unhealthy drug interactions, and help their patients make sound financial choices regarding co-pays and generic medications.

NEPSI is a coalition of the nation’s leading healthcare and technology companies that is dedicated to eliminating preventable medication errors by providing free electronic prescribing technology to every physician in America. NEPSI is led by Allscripts and national sponsor Dell Computers. Other companies sponsoring NEPSI are Aetna, Cisco Systems, eRx Networks, Fujitsu Computers of America, Google - the coalition’s Search Sponsor - Horizon BCBS of New Jersey, Microsoft, NaviMedix, Quest Diagnostics, Sprint Nextel, SureScripts, Wellpoint, and Wolters Kluwer Health.

The coalition’s Web-based software, eRx NOW, supports the standards proposed by CMS and is used today by more than 5,000 physicians who have signed on since NEPSI’s launch in January 2007. Designed to appeal to physicians in solo practice or small groups, eRx NOW is available free to any healthcare provider with legal authority to prescribe medications, and requires no download, no new hardware, and minimal training. The product can quickly generate secure electronic prescriptions and deliver them computer-to-computer or via electronic fax to more than 95 percent of all U.S. pharmacies via SureScripts. All prescriptions are instantly checked for potentially harmful interactions with a patient’s other medications using a real-time complete medication database provided by Wolters Kluwer Health, as well as real-time notification of insurance formulary status from leading payers, plans and pharmacy benefit managers. Clinicians also can use eRx NOW to search and find targeted health-related information for themselves or patients using the NEPSI Custom Search Engine from Google.

In its drive to extend ePrescribing to every physician in America, NEPSI also supports the efforts of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) to promote legislation requiring that all physicians who treat Medicare patients prescribe electronically, and to provide annual incentives for participating physicians. In the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, Part D sponsors were required to accept ePrescribing, and initial national standards were created for Medicare. Physicians, however, were not required to use the technology. As a result, fewer than one in 10 physicians have chosen to use electronic prescribing. NEPSI concurs with the PCMA that the only realistic way to rapidly accelerate adoption of ePrescribing is to require that physicians who treat Medicare patients use the technology.

According to the Institute of Medicine, preventable medication errors are responsible for more than 1.5 million injuries and 7,000 deaths each year. Caring for the injured accounts for billions in extra costs. A new study by the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that if just 18 percent of doctors in Medicare adopt e-prescribing, the government will save $4 billion and nearly three million adverse drug events can be prevented over five years.

For more information: www.allscripts.com, www.nationalerx.com

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