SOURCE: CHD Meridian Healthcare

April 05, 2007 08:00 ET

Workplace Study Favors More Reliable, Less Expensive Antibiotics When Doctors and Pharmacists Make Joint Decisions

Return to First-Line Antibiotics Curbs Healthcare Costs, Drug Resistance

CHADDS FORD, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 5, 2007 -- Contrary to common practice, a new study shows that when doctors and pharmacists work closely together in a workplace primary care health center, prescribing practices favor older, first-line antibiotics that produce significant savings and provide important therapeutic benefits.

The new model, reported in the April issue of the Journal for Health and Productivity by workplace health care provider CHD Meridian Healthcare (an I-trax company) (AMEX: DMX), led to a reduction in the inappropriate use of potent and high-priced newer antibiotic medications which can also be associated with clinically challenging antibiotic resistance. The approach, studied at four onsite facilities of a CHD Meridian client, translated into an estimated potential $1.5 million in savings on antibiotic prescriptions for the host company over three years.

The so-called first-line antibiotics favored by doctors in the study are typically older drugs with less severe side effects, are generally available as generics and are considerably less expensive than the newer brand-name second- and third-line antibiotics. The cost per prescription written by the clinicians at the workplace was, on average, nearly $20 less than the average antibiotic prescription written by community physicians.

In this study, worksite health center doctors and pharmacists collaborated on the need for prescriptions of newer second- and third-line antibiotics. As a result, 66 percent of their antibiotic prescriptions were written for the more reliable, older and generally less costly first-line antibiotics compared to 45 percent of the prescriptions issued by the general medical community that they work within -- a 47 percent difference.

The CHD Meridian Healthcare study shows that when employers place an integrated primary care center and pharmacy at the workplace remarkably better care can be delivered, according to Raymond J. Fabius, MD, president and chief medical officer of CHD Meridian. "Outside of this model it is rare to have doctors and pharmacists speak to each other unless there is a problem identified by one of them or their mutual patient. Only then is there a brief fax or phone call. In our model there is daily interchange between our prescribing clinicians and our dispensing clinicians. When either has a concern they walk across the waiting room and confer. Additionally they can focus on a single formulary and a single benefit plan."

The collaborative approach used in the study gave pharmacists the ability to challenge prescriptions for the newer, more expensive antibiotics. Physicians in the study either justified the need for the second- and third-line antibiotics, or revised the prescription, if appropriate.

"We welcome research that sheds light on the best ways to coordinate care, which is so central to quality," said Peggy O'Kane, President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). "The demonstrated impact of the collaboration between the prescribing clinician and the dispensing clinician is a step in the right direction."

The study was conducted at worksite health centers and pharmacies operated by CHD Meridian Healthcare at four separate facilities of one of their client companies. Researchers analyzed 84,088 prescriptions given to 23,501 patients -- all employees, retirees or dependents of the host company.

"Our study demonstrates the value of an integrated model of worksite medical and pharmacy services," said Dr. Fabius, a co-author of the study. "It is a return to more collaborative care -- where doctors, pharmacists and patients all take part in managing health and wellness and where costs are controlled by identifying the best course of treatment the first time around."

The CHD Meridian Healthcare study is in line with other efforts around prescribing practices for antibiotics. Appropriate antibiotic use is a major public awareness effort of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which calls antibiotic resistance a major worldwide health issue. According to CDC information, the number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics has increased in the last decade. Through its "Get Smart with Antibiotics Program," the CDC distributes federal funds to state and local health departments for the development, implementation, and evaluation of local campaigns to promote appropriate antibiotic use, and has increased that funding for 2007.

Authors of the study published in the Journal for Health and Productivity include CHD Meridian Healthcare employees Sharon G. Frazee, Ph.D., Vice President, Health Informatics; Pamela Ryan, R.N., Senior Vice President, Medical Management; Rochelle Broome, M.D., Corporate Medical Director; Dr. Fabius; and James Manfred, R.Ph, Vice President of Pharmacy Services.

About CHD Meridian Healthcare

CHD Meridian Healthcare, an I-trax company, is the leading provider of integrated workplace health and productivity management solutions. Serving nearly 100 clients at over 215 locations nationwide, CHD Meridian Healthcare offers on-site health centers, which deliver primary care, acute care, corporate health, occupational health and pharmacy care management services as well as integrated disease management, wellness and lifestyle management programs. CHD Meridian Healthcare provides a comprehensive solution utilizing telephonic and e-health tools to enhance the trusted relationship established by its clinicians at the worksite.

CHD Meridian Healthcare is focused on helping companies achieve employer of choice status, making the workplace safe, improving the quality of care and the productivity of the workforce while mitigating healthcare costs. Managing employer-sponsored health centers for over 40 years, some of CHD Meridian Healthcare's clients include: BMW, Blue Ridge Paper, Coors Brewing Company, Coushatta Casino Resort, DENSO Manufacturing Michigan, Deutsche Bank, Eastman Chemical, Fieldale Farms, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Lowe's, Toyota, UnumProvident and US Steel. For more information, visit www.chdmeridian.com.

Safe Harbor Statement: This news release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including those risks detailed in I-trax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and should be read in light of these risks.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Michele Hart-Henry
    CHD Meridian Healthcare
    (610) 459-2405 x109
    Email Contact

    Michelle Sawatka-Fernandez
    Edelman
    (212) 704-4544
    Email Contact