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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Announces e-Prescribing Collaborative Program to Improve Patient Safety

Innovative program is the first of its kind in the country

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 21, 2007--In an effort to make prescription medications safer and to improve the quality of care in Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois announced today the implementation of a statewide, collaborative program that will unite the health care industry and expand e-prescribing throughout Illinois.

The Illinois e-Prescribing Collaborative is the first of its kind in the nation, as insurers, technology vendors, pharmacies, employer groups, physicians and other organizations involved in the prescription process are working together to increase the use of e-prescribing. The organizations involved in this ground-breaking collaborative are the health plans and pharmacies in Illinois, Midwest Business Group on Health, Chicago Patient Safety Forum, Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, Illinois chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Foundation for Quality Healthcare, Illinois State Medical Society, Midwest Business Group on Health, Illinois Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois Hospital Association, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Initial costs for the implementation of approximately 500 physicians will be funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Additionally, the program's innovative service and support model gives every physician throughout the state an opportunity to participate by providing funding and technology support for e-prescribing. "As other health plans join in and as physicians generate e-prescriptions, additional funds will be generated to bring on additional doctors," said Stan Borg, chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "An e-prescription is a safer prescription and our goal is to achieve widespread adoption of the technology throughout Illinois."

This unique program creates value to all parties in the prescription process, including patients, physicians, pharmacies, employers and health plans. "With all members of the collaborative working together, we can take significant steps to help improve the overall quality of care and increase efficiencies in the prescription process while controlling health care costs by reducing medication errors," said Larry Boress, president of the Midwest Business Group on Health.

"UnitedHealthcare is pleased to support this collaborative effort to advance high-tech solutions that will help streamline prescription filling and verification and improve patient safety," said Prentiss Taylor, MD, UnitedHealthcare of Illinois Medical Director. "We believe technology such as e-prescribing plays a significant role in enhancing the delivery and quality of health care and improving health care affordability for families and employers."

"The Illinois e-Prescribing Collaborative is carving out a unique approach to e-prescribing," said G. Cameron Deemer, President of DrFirst. "By establishing a balanced contribution of funds, each payer operating in the state of Illinois has an opportunity to participate at a level matching their presence in the state. We are committed to accelerating the adoption of e-prescribing in Illinois and are proud to be part of an innovative self-perpetuating program which relies on transaction fees to fund both existing and new physicians for the program."

With access to the e-prescribing software through a PDA or desktop computer, physicians can check eligibility, co-pay and formulary information at the point of care. Access to patient drug history will enable physicians to prescribe the appropriate medication by verifying patient's allergies and checking for possible drug interactions. Prescriptions would then be sent directly to the patient's pharmacy. Patient waiting time as well as callbacks to physicians for changes or clarifications would thus be greatly reduced. Generic utilization would also be increased along with formulary compliance as a result of cues displayed by the program that would inform the physician of alternatives to brand name drugs.

"The time is right for broad adoption of e-prescribing based on results measured in several e-prescribing programs throughout the country," said Rick Spurr, chief executive officer for ZixCorp. "We are committed to helping the Illinois Collaborative achieve success by doing our part to drive physician adoption so that the goals of medication safety are realized for everyone in Illinois."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (HCSC), is the oldest and largest health insurance company in the state. Currently, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois provides health insurance coverage for more than 6.9 million people.

HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

DrFirst is a national provider of physician connectivity services through its award-winning Rcopia electronic prescription management system. Founded in 2000, DrFirst creates innovative services targeted to physicians in both ambulatory and acute care environments. With a strong emphasis on products that link physicians, patients, pharmacies, and payers, DrFirst works to lower healthcare costs while improving clinical outcomes. DrFirst solutions are widely integrated with practice management and electronic medical records software through its "Open Borders" program, and the company counts among its client base, not only physician practices, but major health plans, health systems, and EMR vendors. More information about DrFirst can be found at

ZixCorp, (Nasdaq:ZIXI), is the leading provider of hosted email encryption and e- prescribing services. ZixCorp's hosted Email Encryption Service provides an easy and cost-effective way to ensure customer privacy and regulatory compliance for corporate email. Its PocketScript(R) e-prescribing service reduces costs and improves patient care by automating the prescription process between payors, doctors, and pharmacies. For more information, visit

Public Relations:
Farrah Corley, 214-370-2175
Investor Relations:
Peter Wilensky, 214-515-7357