Prescription drug management solution successful in first year

April 11, 2006

Rockville, MD. – Following the successful rollout of DrFirst Rcopia electronic prescribing in 2005, the eRx Collaborative has expanded its program with DrFirst to provide Rcopia and handheld devices to an additional 400 providers in Massachusetts. The eRx Collaborative will also continue to pay software licensing fees for providers using Rcopia who have met certain eligibility criteria for a second year.

In January 2005, the eRx Collaborative engaged DrFirst as an additional eprescribing vendor to the existing collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), Tufts Health Plan, Neighborhood Health Plan and Zix Corporation. The eRx Collaborative provided funding to 750 providers for Rcopia e-prescribing, handheld devices, wireless routers, and six months of high-speed internet. In 2005 alone, more than 2.6 million prescriptions were transmitted electronically through the eRx Collaborative. By the end of 2005, more than 300,000 prescriptions were being transmitted per month, with a record high of more than 80,000 prescriptions in a single week. This represents a 136 percent increase throughout the year and a fourfold
increase from the previous year.

“DrFirst is very pleased to continue our partnership with the eRx Collaborative”, said G. Cameron Deemer, Senior Vice President and General Manager of DrFirst, “We believe our joint efforts will make a significant contribution to establishing electronic prescribing as a significant part of health information exchange which can markedly improve healthcare delivery in communities across Massachusetts.”

The program, aimed at improving patient safety has resulted in better formulary compliance, avoidance of adverse drug events (ADEs), and avoidance of incorrect fills at the pharmacy. The eRx Collaborative announced that by year end 2005, more than 4,000 potentially harmful prescriptions were changed each month as a result of alerts issued by the electronic prescribing applications.

Along with improvements in safety came improvements in cost. “Based on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) actuarial analysis, there is a strong indication that physicians who write a significant number of scripts electronically shift their prescribing behavior,” said Vincent Plourde, Vice President of Provider Services at BCBSMA.

“These users prescribed according to the drug formulary more than non-e-prescribers, translating into a 1.5 percent drug cost savings on their new prescriptions and subsequent refills. It is also estimated that members seeing an e-prescriber who changes their prescription to a lower tier drug prompted by a formulary message can save an average of $20 to $25 per prescription.”

Dr. Allen Hinkle, Chief Medical Officer at Tufts Health Plan, said, “Electronic prescribing has broad implications to improve the quality and efficiency of care. In addition to encouraging the use of lower tier drugs, e-prescribing has proven to reduce the volume of fax and paperwork between physician offices and pharmacies.”

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.

DrFirst also provides leading edge secure text messaging platforms.