|September 12, 2006|
BlueCross, Caremark Seek to Expand Enrollment in Free Electronic Prescribing Program
BlueCross, Mary Thompson, APR, 423-535-7694
Caremark Rx, Inc. Joan M. Gallagher, 615-743-6652
CHATTANOOGA and NASHVILLE, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee together with Caremark Rx, Inc. today announced enhancements to the Caremark iScribe electronic prescribing program in an effort to increase statewide adoption of the technology by physicians. The initial goal is to enroll 250, or nearly 7 percent, of BlueCross’ network physicians who write more than 1,000 prescriptions per year.
BlueCross worked with Caremark to first launch the iScribe program in Tennessee in 2004. The original program included free iScribe software, which physicians were required to install or download themselves. To date, more than 60 physicians have taken advantage of the offer. Enhanced features of the iScribe program now include free software, PDA, printer, related hardware, installation and follow-up field support.
The program redesign is intended to help remove the barrier frequently cited as the reason physicians are slow to adopt electronic prescribing tools — the cost of the tools themselves. BlueCross is one of a few managed care organizations to fund the e-prescribing technology.
“BlueCross is constantly seeking innovative ways to work with our network doctors and our members on quality and cost issues,” said Terry Shea, director of pharmacy services for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “The iScribe program allows us to address both.”
The iScribe software, a service of Caremark, enables physicians to securely generate prescriptions using a handheld PDA or desktop computer. Physicians can transmit prescriptions directly to their patients’ pharmacy of choice via a secure Internet connection or print prescriptions for patients to deliver to a pharmacy. In addition, physicians can check for potentially harmful drug interactions at the point of prescribing.
Improved patient safety is a key contributor to increasing national interest in e-prescribing, especially in avoiding adverse drug interactions. A new report by the Institute of Medicine states that medication errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year and cites studies associating paper-based prescribing with high error rates. The report calls for all prescriptions to be written electronically by 2010.
“Electronic prescribing represents a significant advance in the delivery of health care, and we are pleased to be working with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in leading the introduction of this technology,” said Jan Berger, MD, MJ, Caremark senior vice president and chief clinical officer. “The iScribe service promotes not only drug safety, but also convenience and time savings for patient and physician alike.”
The iScribe software features an online prescription renewal tool enabling physicians to easily review incoming requests and respond electronically, reducing phone calls and faxes between the practice and the pharmacy.
Physicians using electronic prescribing have reported saving 30 to 60 minutes per day. Some have said this enables them to see more patients per day, while others have used the time to provide additional patient counseling.
To participate, physicians must have high-speed Internet access and be enrolled in the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee network. Physicians can use the electronic prescribing tools to write prescriptions for any patient, regardless of whether the patient is covered by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee or another health plan. The system is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which governs the management and use of confidential patient information.
About Caremark Rx, Inc.
Caremark Rx, Inc. is a leading pharmaceutical services company, providing through its affiliates comprehensive drug benefit services to over 2,000 health plan sponsors and their plan participants throughout the U.S. The company’s clients include corporate health plans, managed care organizations, insurance companies, unions, government agencies and other funded benefit plans. In addition, Caremark is a national provider of drug benefits to eligible beneficiaries under the Medicare Part D program. The company operates a national retail pharmacy network with over 60,000 participating pharmacies, seven mail service pharmacies, the industry’s only FDA-regulated repackaging plant and 21 licensed specialty pharmacies for delivery of advanced medications to individuals with chronic or genetic diseases and disorders.
Additional information about Caremark is available at www.caremarkrx.com or in the company’s Forms 10-K, 10-Q and other SEC filings.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.
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