Fifty percent of independent pharmacies now able to connect with physicians through SureScripts Messenger Services

Alexandria 05 August 2004SureScripts has now certified technology solutions that serve roughly half of the United States' independent pharmacies. Recently certified solutions include those offered by SureScripts Certified Solution Providers Etreby Computer Company, HealthCare Computer Corporation (HCC), McKesson Corporation, and QS/1 Data Systems. SureScripts' certification process not only requires that the solution be able to connect seamlessly with the SureScripts neutral electronic prescribing network, but also requires providers to follow certain business rules that will ensure doctor's choice of therapy and patient's choice of pharmacy.

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In addition, 13 pharmacy system vendors representing approximately 7000 independent pharmacies are undergoing SureScripts pre-certification testing with SureScripts technology partner, NDCHealth. These vendors are Health Business Systems Inc.; Pacific Computing; Compusolve, TDS; Foundation; Interactive Systems & Management Corporation (ISM), Carepoint, Data Doc, Computer Rx; Midco Data, Solid Data Systems; JASCORP and Best Computer Systems Inc.

"Today's announcement represents a key milestone for the independent pharmacy community", stated Bruce Roberts, Executive Director and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). "Independent pharmacies currently sell $67 billion annually in prescription drugs. The rapid adoption of electronic prescribing using the SureScripts network will greatly enhance patient safety, process efficiencies and patient convenience. Independent pharmacies are excited to be able to deliver the benefits of true electronic prescribing now available through its major vendors."

Prior to connecting with SureScripts Messenger Services for the electronic exchange of prescription data, all physician and pharmacy technology vendors must go through an implementation and certification process to become a SureScripts Certified Solution Provider. This process ensures that technology partners' systems conform to SCRIPT message formats as approved by the National Council of Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) and that their technology can successfully exchange prescription data between physicians and pharmacies via the SureScripts network.

"Etreby is happy to join the national effort to implement electronic prescribing and empower our independent community pharmacy clients to be active participants", stated Bill Etreby, Pharm.D., President and CEO of Etreby Computer Company. "With industry leaders like Etreby, HCC, McKesson, NDCHealth, and QS/1, we are significantly closer to fulfilling our mission of improving the prescribing process for all, including the independent pharmacists who represent 41 percent of the retail prescription market", stated Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO of SureScripts. "These commitments continue to demonstrate our strong partnerships with members of the industry who are dedicated to ensuring patient safety through electronic prescribing."

A recent House subcommittee panel testified that electronic prescribing could improve patient care, boost efficiency, and translate into substantial savings of as much as $27 billion in health care costs, due to fewer medication errors and reduced duplication. The panel cited a report by the eHealth Initiative, which said another $2 billion in savings would come from fewer hospital and doctor visits as a result of a reduction in prescribing errors.

"I've been a proponent of electronic prescribing for a very long time", noted David Feeney, pharmacist/owner at Oxnard Pharmacy in Warwick, Rhode Island, who uses QS/1's pharmacy management software, RxCare Plus. "The economies and efficiencies it offers pharmacies and pharmacists are excellent. And doctors seem to respond faster to electronic refill requests than to faxes or phone calls. In fact, one physician who usually takes two days to respond to a refill request actually responds to my electronic request in minutes. That saves a lot of time for everyone."

Etreby Computer Company has a long-standing commitment to serve the technology needs of health care professionals. For more than two decades, Etreby has been providing the finest software solutions to pharmacy professionals nationwide. Community pharmacists have always relied on Etreby to provide technologically advanced, user-friendly software systems that efficiently improve work flow, increase profits, and lower operating costs. A wide array of products, along with superior customer support, has positioned Etreby as an industry leader.

HealthCare Computer Corporation (HCC) is the culmination of technology companies owned and operated by Rex Akers, R.Ph. HCC has been a national provider of computer applications for the health care industry since the 1980s. HCC takes pride in providing a range of services and total system support nationally for care providers in pharmacy, durable medical equipment, and pharmaceutical care. Additionally, HCC offers quality solutions for Point-Of-Sale and On-line DME Medicare Claims Processing. HCC has over 2500 satisfied customers nationwide, who enjoy quality products and HCC's commitment to serve their practice needs today and tomorrow.

McKesson Corporation is a Fortune 16 health care services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality health care by reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 170-year history, McKesson has grown to provide pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; health care information technology for hospitals, physicians, home care and payers; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payers designed to improve outcomes for patients.

NDCHealth is uniquely positioned in health care as an expert in point-of-care systems, electronic connectivity and information solutions to pharmacies, hospitals, physicians and payers. QS/1, a provider for pharmacy software, serves more than 9000 customers in independent pharmacies, drug/food chain pharmacies, institutional pharmacies, hospital outpatient pharmacies and HME businesses. QS/1 is a division of the J.M. Smith Corporation, the third largest privately held company in South Carolina.

SureScripts is committed to building relationships within the health care community and working collaboratively with key industry stakeholders and organisations to improve the safety, efficiency and quality of health care by improving the overall prescribing process. At the core of this improvement effort is SureScripts Messenger Services, a health care infrastructure which establishes electronic communications between pharmacists and physicians and enables the two-way electronic exchange of prescription information.

Today, companies and software vendors representing 50 percent of the pharmacies in the United States have completed the testing and certification process to connect to SureScripts Messenger Services and are at various stages of pharmacy and market roll-out. SureScripts Messenger Services is the first step to support true electronic prescribing in an industry still reliant on fax, phone, pen and paper. More news on SureScripts is available in the VMW July 2004 article Zix Corporation partners with SureScripts for e-Prescribing connectivity between pharmacies and physicians


Leslie Versweyveld

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