SOURCE: Surescripts

February 27, 2007 14:30 ET

Ohio Ranks High in Key Indicator for Patient Safety: Ranked #9 State in the Nation for Electronic Prescribing

Ohio Honored as Nation's Community Pharmacies Announce Second Annual Safe-Rx Awards

COLUMBUS, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 27, 2007 -- The community pharmacy industry today cited the state of Ohio and three prescribers who practice in the state for outstanding efforts to improve patient safety and practice efficiency through the use of electronic prescribing technology. Drs. Mohamed Shahed (Cleveland), Diane Eden (Willoughby) and Paul Martin, DO (Dayton) were commended by leaders from community pharmacy with the Safe-Rx™ Award. Ohio finished ninth in the nation as part of the second nationwide review and ranking of electronic prescribing activity.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and SureScripts® created the Safe-Rx Award to raise awareness of e-prescribing as a more secure, accurate and informed means of prescribing patients medication. This year's Safe-Rx Awards follow the release of a report in July of 2006 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that focused national attention on the 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur in the United States each year. To prevent these errors and the injuries they cause, the IOM report made a series of recommendations, including one that all prescribers and pharmacies prescribe electronically by 2010.

"E-Prescribing is easy to use," said Dr. Shahed. "It increases safety and benefits patients."

"Electronic prescribing provides for improved quality of clinical care, safety and efficiency in the physician's office and the pharmacy while reducing adverse drug events, prescribing and filling errors," said Dr. Martin. "It is simple to learn and allows physicians to create appropriate, HIPAA compliant, legible and safe prescriptions that can be produced faster than written prescriptions in most situations. E-Prescribing saves upwards of at least two to three hours per day of physician, pharmacist and staff time, thus allowing staff to be redeployed to take on other needed patient care functions. In addition, electronic prescribing prepares physicians and their staff for transitioning to a totally electronic medical record, future payment for performance models that will be electronically driven and potentially increased third party reimbursements for utilizing electronic technology."

The Safe-Rx Awards are based on an analysis of data from new prescriptions and refill responses electronically transmitted over the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, operated by SureScripts. States are ranked by the number of prescriptions routed electronically in 2006 as a percentage of the total number of prescriptions eligible for electronic routing.

Top 10 E-Prescribing States: The Second Annual* Safe-Rx Award Winners

1.   Massachusetts
2.   Rhode Island
3.   Nevada
4.   Delaware
5.   Maryland
6.   Michigan
7.   North Carolina
8.   New Jersey**
9.   Ohio
10.  Washington**

*For more information about the awards, and to see how this year's state
rankings compare to the year before, go to www.SureScripts.com/SafeRx.
**New to Top 10
One of the keys to Ohio's success is that, over the last three years, Ohio pharmacies have made significant upgrades to their computer systems to allow physician practices to exchange prescription information with them electronically. With more and more physician practices getting connected, E-Prescribing has proven to be a more efficient and safe alternative to the traditionally paper-, phone- and fax-based prescribing process.

Other critical factors contributing to Ohio's Top 10 finish include the following efforts:

--  Cleveland Clinic -- Cleveland Clinic has been committed to using
    information technology to transform the way its medical practice is
    conducted in the office, or wherever the patient may be. In 2006, Cleveland
    Clinic physicians used E-Prescribing to care for patients in three million
    office visits, which increased patient safety, enhanced the relationship
    between physicians and pharmacists through real-time sharing of
    information, and created a new level of convenience for patients that
    ultimately improves their overall healthcare experience.
    
--  KePRO -- Ohio's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, helps
    achieve continuous quality improvement in healthcare through the provision
    of innovative products and services for healthcare providers and Ohio's 1.8
    million Medicare beneficiaries. Ohio KePRO and University Primary &
    Specialty Care Practice (UPCP), a 300-physician community based practice of
    University Hospitals Health System (UHHS), recently completed a year-long
    study of technical standards and clinical impact of electronic prescribing
    of medications under one of only five federally funded initiatives
    nationwide for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Ohio
    KePRO also has been an active partner with the Ohio Pharmacists Association
    and the Ohio State Medical Association to determine Ohio physician office
    capacity to streamline communications with pharmacies.
    
--  Partners in Technology to Improve Patient Safety -- A three-phase
    project to promote collaborative relationships between pharmacists and
    physicians to develop interdisciplinary models for health care delivery;
    the project results from a joint collaboration with the Ohio Northern
    University Roabe College of Pharmacy, the Ohio Pharmacy Association and the
    Ohio Osteopathic Association.
    
"Information technology is essential to the 21st century medical practice model," said C. Martin Harris, M.D., chief information officer, Cleveland Clinic. "E-Prescribing is one tangible example of information technology's ongoing transformative impact on healthcare, demonstrating how a single, streamlined process can help providers, pharmacists and patients work together to improve efficiency, lower overall costs and deliver a new level of service to millions of people every day."

"E-Prescribing is an emerging technology-based healthcare strategy to achieve efficiencies for both providers and patients and to ensure the right care for the right patient, every time," said Alice Stollenwerk Petrulis, MD, FACP, chief medical officer for KePRO, Inc.

E-Prescribing's Growth Opportunity: Save Time, Dollars and Much More

There remains a sizable opportunity to increase e-prescribing adoption and utilization across the country -- including in all Top 10 Safe-Rx states. Realizing its full potential represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve patient safety and the efficiency of the prescribing process.

According to the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL), electronic prescribing systems with a network connection to pharmacy and advanced decision support capabilities could help prevent 130,000 life threatening medication errors annually.

By eliminating paper from the prescribing process, e-prescribing also has been proven to offer significant time-savings by eliminating the need for phone calls and faxes, allowing prescribers and their staff more time to care for their patients.

A study by the Medical Group Management Association's (MGMA) Group Practice Research Network (GPRN) estimated that administrative complexity related to prescriptions costs a practice approximately $15,700 a year for each full time physician on staff -- a figure that does not even take into consideration the time spent managing faxes. Multiplying that figure by an estimated 20,200 office-based physicians currently practicing and prescribing medications in Ohio reveals an opportunity for e-prescribing to significantly reduce the estimated $317 million worth of time spent annually by physicians and staff on phone calls clarifying prescription information.

For Prescribers

For more information about how to start prescribing electronically, prescribers can go to www.GetRxConnected.com/OH. The site includes an online tool designed to help prescribers, and their staffs, determine if their practice already possesses the technology to establish a direct, two-way, computer-to-computer connection with their local pharmacies. Prescribers can also call with questions about the assessment or electronic prescribing in general: 1-866-RxReady (1-866-797-3239).

For Patients

For patients, e-prescribing means a safer and more efficient prescribing process -- no more lost prescriptions, no trip to the pharmacy to drop off the prescription and no illegible handwriting for the pharmacist to interpret. Residents of Ohio who are interested in finding out more about how electronic prescribing benefits them and their families can go to www.GetRxConnected.com/OH/patients. The web site also features helpful advice on how residents can help their physician Get Connected to their local community pharmacy.

About NACDS

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents the nation's leading retail chain pharmacies and suppliers, helping them better meet the changing needs of their patients and customers. Chain pharmacies operate more than 38,000 pharmacies, employ 112,000 pharmacists, fill more than 2.3 billion prescriptions yearly, and have annual sales of nearly $700 billion. Other members include more than 1,000 suppliers of products and services to the chain drug industry. NACDS international membership has grown to include 80 members from 25 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.nacds.org.

About NCPA

The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 24,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines.

About SureScripts

Founded by the pharmacy industry in 2001, SureScripts operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™ which facilitates the secure electronic transmission of prescription information between physicians and pharmacists and provides access to life-saving information about patients during emergencies or routine care. Today, more than 95 percent of all pharmacies and all major physician technology vendors in the United States are certified on the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange. More information about SureScripts is available at www.surescripts.com.

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