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One Million Prescriptions in Massachusetts Written Electronically in the First Half of 2005 Through eRx Collaborative

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 16, 2005--Across the country, e-prescribing is fast becoming the easy and convenient way for physicians to handle prescriptions. Patients, too, recognize the efficiency, time-savings and improved quality delivered by e-prescribing technology.

In Massachusetts, the eRx Collaborative recently completed its mid-year 2005 report. Highlights include:

  • As of Q2 2005, more than 2,700 prescribers in Massachusetts have incorporated e-prescribing into their practices through the eRx Collaborative (this number includes e-prescribing applications from both technology partners Zix Corporation (Nasdaq:ZIXI) and DrFirst)
  • There was a 41 percent increase in the number of scripts sent in Q2 compared to Q1
  • Over one million scripts have been sent through the eRx Collaborative in 2005

Participants in the eRx Collaborative are encouraged by these results. "We are enthusiastic about the medical community's response to e-prescribing," said Vincent Plourde, Vice President of provider technology at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "One million prescriptions in six months is a significant milestone."

"The continued growth of the eRx Collaborative holds great promise for physicians, pharmacists and patients in Massachusetts," said Marianne Leahy, Vice President of alliances at Tufts Health Plan. "This project demonstrates the ability we have to bring improvements to our health care system through collaboration."

"Converting to e-prescribing represents dramatic behavior change by physicians in a fundamental aspect of patient care. Behavior change is never easy. We applaud the physicians who have accepted the challenge in adopting this technology," said Jim Glauber, Medical Director, Neighborhood Health Plan. He further stated that the company will continue to encourage the wider adoption by Massachusetts' physicians who are still putting pen to prescription pad.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), Tufts Health Plan and Neighborhood Health Plan are members of the Massachusetts eRx Collaborative. The plans formed the Collaborative to jumpstart the use of comprehensive e-prescribing technology in Massachusetts. The program offers physicians the goals of improved patient safety and reduced medical costs. The eRx Collaborative uses applications developed by Zix Corporation (PocketScript(R)) and DrFirst (Rcopia(TM)). The companies are supporting members of the Collaborative.

The eRx Collaborative makes it easy for physicians and other prescribers who participate in multiple health plan networks to prescribe for all patients via a handheld device and/or Web browser. The health plans provide sponsorship for the device, a license fee, six months of Internet connectivity where applicable, and one year of service. Prescribers are able to access enhanced information when prescribing for patients in participating plans, such as patient eligibility and formulary information. In addition, the program enables prescribers to:

  • Access patient-specific drug histories to determine the patient's current and past prescriptions
  • Create new and renew prescriptions electronically
  • Send prescriptions for non-controlled substances directly to the pharmacy via fax or by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and/or print the prescription to paper
  • Check for drug-drug and drug-allergy interactions
  • Check for formulary coverage
  • Access drug reference guide

Converting to e-prescribing can increase the safety and efficiency of the prescribing process. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine found that medical errors account for up to 98,000 deaths every year. In 2004, HealthGrades estimated the number of these deaths to be nearly double that of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.

"We have seen great value from PocketScript in our practice," said Dr. Frederick Wikander of Chelmsford Primary Care. The patient safety features, including the drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checking have been a huge advantage as many patients tend to forget to tell their doctors what other medications they are taking."

SureScripts showcased Dr. Alan Silken's experience utilizing DrFirst's Rcopia through the eRx Collaborative in a case study that can be found at Dr. Silken states: "I have found it (Rcopia) to be the most comprehensive and efficient e-prescribing program for myself and my staff. I went from 10 minutes (per renewal request) to less than a minute and in most cases seconds. All my renewals can be found in one place, and overall I went from spending two hours a day on renewals to 30 minutes each day."

Further program evaluation will be conducted this year and plans for the eRx Collaborative in 2006 are currently underway.

About the eRx Collaborative

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), Tufts Health Plan, Neighborhood Health Plan, Zix Corporation and DrFirst have formed a collaboration to offer physicians a comprehensive ePrescribing program. The program is expected to improve patient safety and reduce medical costs.

CONTACT: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Susan Leahy, 617-246-4823
Tufts Health Plan
Catherine Grant, 781-466-8593
Christa Osswald, 214-370-2175
Neighborhood Health Plan
Sonia Javier-Obinger, 617-772-5660
Irene Froehlich, 1-888-271-9898 x147

SOURCE: eRx Collaborative