CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to provide DrFirst Rcopia electronic prescribing solution to 500 network physicians

Rockville 10 August 2004CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Maryland's largest health insurer, will provide the DrFirst Rcopia electronic prescription management solution to 500 high prescribing physicians in the CareFirst network. This initiative is intended to dramatically improve patient safety and reduce prescription-related costs.

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DrFirst Rcopia offers an end-to-end electronic prescribing system that integrates patient eligibility and formulary information from CareFirst with medication history at the point of care. The system then allows the physician to transmit the prescription electronically to the pharmacy of the patient's choosing. This process works for renewals as well as new prescriptions.

DrFirst Rcopia is designed to produce legible and error-free prescriptions, reducing the number of phone calls and faxes between the physicians' office and the pharmacy. The system also increases patient safety by incorporating automatic drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy interaction checking at the time of prescribing.

Drug reference information provided by ePocrates is also incorporated into the DrFirst Rcopia system for ease of use and to increase patient safety. In addition to the standard ePocrates drug reference information, ePocrates Rx Pro, which is included with DrFirst Rcopia, includes over 60 clinical tables and treatment guidelines; the ePocrates ID infectious disease guide; the MedMath clinical calculator with added formulas; and an integrated weight-based dosing calculator.

Physicians can use DrFirst Rcopia via the Web on desktop, laptop and tablet PCs. Mobile implementation is powered by DrFirst Rcopia for Palm OS, which integrates seamlessly with the Web-based system to ensure full on-line and off-line functionality.

CareFirst and DrFirst have selected palmOne Inc. to provide the enrolled physicians with their choice of state-of-the-art wireless handhelds in support of this effort. Physicians may choose from either the WiFi-enabled Tungsten C handheld or the award-winning Treo 600 smartphone as their mobile electronic prescribing tool. palmOne is a provider of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to the medical community.

Sprint will be providing the wireless voice and data service for the palmOne Treo 600. Leveraging the secure and high-speed data capabilities of the enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS Network, physicians will be able to instantly transmit prescriptions electronically to pharmacies throughout the CareFirst network.

Moving the prescription from paper to an electronic platform can greatly increase the safety and efficiency of the process. According to an April 2004 report of the eHealth Initiative, "Electronic prescribing can improve safety, quality, efficiency, and cost. Studies suggest that the national savings from universal adoption of electronic prescribing systems could be as high as $27 billion, some from adverse drug events (ADE) prevention and the majority from better utilization of drugs, guided by these systems." Further, the Center for Information Technology Leadership estimates that over 3 million adverse drug events could be prevented through electronic prescribing.

"We applaud CareFirst for joining our other Maryland-based clients in recognizing the value and power of electronic prescribing and for their commitment to ensure that Maryland realizes the many benefits that our system brings to the entire health care process", stated John F. Bartos, Jr., President of DrFirst.

Utilizing the latest advancements in Internet, security, wireless and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) technology, DrFirst provides a suite of integrated, affordable, intuitive and easily implemented products and services to the health care community. DrFirst's products include electronic prescribing systems, charge capture, scheduling and secure messaging. These comprehensive solutions solve critical communication, business productivity and clinical needs of physicians, clinics, hospitals and health systems. More information on DrFirst is available in the VMW June 2004 article Sprint and DrFirst to offer health care providers wireless ePrescription solution


Leslie Versweyveld

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