SOURCE: Surescripts

August 15, 2007 08:00 ET

SureScripts® Joins With Physicians, Payers and Employers to Improve Technology's Impact on Medication Safety

Center for Improving Medication Management Will Better Inform and Drive the Adoption and Use of Technology by Pharmacists, Physicians and Patients

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - August 15, 2007) - State Alliance for e-Health Quarterly Conference - SureScripts, founded by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), today announced that it is collaborating with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Humana Inc., Intel Corporation and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to launch The Center for Improving Medication Management.

The effective adoption and use of technology can improve the safety of medications. In addition, there is a significant opportunity to improve healthcare quality and better manage costs by increasing patient adherence to prescribed medications. According to studies cited in a recent report by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), only about 50 percent of American patients typically take their medicines as prescribed.

"Medication adherence is America's new drug problem," said Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "AHRQ is pleased to see that such an esteemed group is working together on solutions to this problem."

NACDS and NCPA created SureScripts in 2001 to improve the safety and efficiency of the prescribing process and enable the electronic exchange of prescription information. Since then, the pharmacy industry has invested millions of dollars in upgrading its hardware and software systems and in developing the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, the network service operated by SureScripts that facilitates the electronic transmission of prescription information between pharmacists, physicians and the patients they mutually serve. By collaborating with leading provider organizations, payers and employers, The Center for Improving Medication Management extends the pharmacy industry's leadership in pursuing unique and creative ways to improve the overall safety, quality and efficiency of the patient medication management process.

"On behalf of the pharmacy industry, SureScripts is very excited to launch The Center for Improving Medication Management in collaboration with these esteemed organizations," said Kate Berry, executive director of The Center and senior vice president of business development for SureScripts. "We are confident that The Center will bring medication management to the next level and have a meaningful impact on accelerating the deployment of technology to improve the safety of the prescribing process."

Operating as a center of excellence, The Center will initiate programs to gather and disseminate best practices for deployment of technology that electronically links physicians, pharmacists and patients. The Center will conduct research that details how physicians, pharmacists and patients can use technology and health information exchange to improve the way medications are prescribed, filled, used and evaluated for patient outcomes -- i.e. to improve the way medications are managed. For certain projects, SureScripts and The Center's co-founders -- AAFP, BCBS Association, Humana Inc., Intel and MGMA -- will work with additional organizations, including some of the nation's leading research organizations, to support The Center's mission.

"The Center for Improving Medication Management represents an important step forward in health care research. The Center will have the opportunity to contribute to a growing body of knowledge that will translate into real improvements in how technology can be deployed to improve medication safety and medication management, resulting in better patient outcomes," said Dr. Michael Fischer, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "I am looking forward to working with The Center as it moves forward with its important agenda."

Initial discussions are underway with RAND Corporation and The Center to develop a project that would demonstrate how certain features of e-prescribing and EMR technology impact medication safety, medication use and labor costs for the practices involved.

"Our main goals in this project would be to understand how the technical features of e-prescribing systems can facilitate more organized prescription handling between physician offices and pharmacies to result in more successful use of e-prescribing, and ultimately, better outcomes for patients," said Douglas Bell, a research scientist for RAND Corporation.

In addition to conducting and publishing original research, The Center will distinguish its work through the broad dissemination of best practices. It will educate pharmacists, physicians and the market at large on optimal approaches to implementing prescribing technology and integrating it with the day-to-day work habits of care providers and their staff. The intent is to contribute to a growing body of knowledge and best practices that ultimately drives more effective implementation of electronic prescribing and electronic medical record technology with a focus on how these technologies can and should improve medication management for patients. With more effective implementation comes wider adoption, and with wider adoption comes a more automated, safer and more efficient means of managing medications.

The Center will accept additional funding in pursuit of opportunities and projects that support its mission and purpose. Sources for this funding will vary on a project-by-project basis according to the priorities of The Center as defined and approved by its board of directors.

Center for Improving Medication Management: Co-Founding Members

"On behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, I am delighted to serve on the board of directors of The Center for Improving Medication Management," said Dr. Steven Waldren, director of the AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology. "The mission of The Center aligns well with several of the AAFP's strategic priorities. We look forward to collaborating with The Center to help family physicians implement health information technology that will improve the safety and effectiveness of medication for their patients."

"BCBSA supports the use of health information technology to deliver innovative, timely and appropriate care and is pleased to be a founding member of The Center for Improving Medication Management," said Dr. Allan Korn, chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "The Center's exploration of new technologies to improve medication management will yield positive results for consumers, providers, pharmacists and health plans alike. We are pleased to partner with these organizations in this endeavor."

"Humana is pleased to be aligned with these distinguished organizations in efforts to identify and disseminate best practices for improving medication management," said William Fleming, Pharm.D., vice president of pharmacy and clinical integration for Humana Inc. "The goals of this initiative are consistent with Humana's strategy to demonstrate the value of medications in managing overall costs and patient outcomes. Humana looks forward to being a part of this innovative effort."

"Because medication nonadherence is estimated to account for between 10 and 20 percent of hospital admissions and adds up to $100 billion a year to healthcare costs in the U.S. alone, innovations related to e-prescription and improving patients' success in taking medications as prescribed have the potential to greatly improve both clinical and economic outcomes," said Dr. Bern Shen, director of strategic planning, Intel's Digital Health Group. "Intel is pleased to be working with the members of The Center to foster research in this important field."

"Physician practice leaders across the U.S. are looking for reliable information on the most effective approaches to deploying and using new technologies," said Dr. William F. Jessee, FACMPE, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association. "The Center is well-positioned to be a trusted source to practices for well-researched, current, practical information on how electronic prescribing, pharmacy interoperability and health information exchange can help them help their patients."

More information about The Center for Improving Medication Management can be found at www.theCIMM.org.

About AAFP

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents nearly 94,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Nearly one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 207 million office visits each year -- nearly 62 million more than to the next medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide the majority of care for America's underserved and rural populations. Family medicine's cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the AAFP and about the specialty of family medicine, please visit www.aafp.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 98 million -- nearly one-in-three -- Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's largest publicly traded health benefits companies, with approximately 11.3 million medical members. Humana offers a diversified portfolio of health insurance products and related services -- through traditional and consumer-choice plans -- to employer groups, government-sponsored plans, and individuals.

Over its 46-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

About Intel Corporation

Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.

About MGMA

MGMA, founded in 1926, is the nation's principal voice for medical group practice. MGMA's nearly 21,000 members manage and lead 12,500 organizations, in which almost 270,000 physicians practice. MGMA's core purpose is to improve the effectiveness of medical group practices and the knowledge and skills of the individuals who manage and lead them. MGMA headquarters are in Englewood, Colo.

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 lifesaving 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 http://www.surescripts.com.

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