Electronic prescribing removes prescription errors and improves efficiency for doctors, pharmacists, and patients

June 2, 2008

Boise, ID — Primary Health, Inc. and Idaho Physicians Network (IPN) are pleased to announce the success of a new venture to revolutionize the way Idaho consumers have their prescriptions filled. Since Idaho Physicians Network launched electronic prescribing as a pilot project in July 2006, 14 Idaho physicians have sent 31,648 prescriptions directly to pharmacies using the highest standards of electronic security. Since the project was launched, 2,843 prescriptions were changed or cancelled due to potential drug-drug interactions and 836 were adjusted or canceled due to drug-allergy interactions. In addition, 31,155 substitutions for generic drugs were flagged by electronic prescribing, allowing for a lower cost to the consumer 98.4% of the time.

“The numbers from the pilot project clearly show an opportunity for improved quality of care,” said Dr. Matthew Eastman, family practice physician for the Saint Alphonsus Medical Group in Meridian. “Electronic prescribing safeguards against errors due to misinterpreted handwriting, and it helps protect against dangerous drug interactions and allergies. Electronic prescribing also saves time and money for patients, providers, and pharmacists.”

Electronic prescribing streamlines the process of having a prescription filled, making it a more time efficient method for all involved in the prescription process – from the doctor, to the patient, to the pharmacist.

With electronic prescribing, a prescription is sent to a pharmacy directly from the physician’s computer and arrives with clear direction as to what medications are being prescribed and in what quantity. Electronic prescribing offered by the Idaho Physicians Network is a completely secure web-based process that utilizes the highest standard of government approved encryption. The Saint Alphonsus Medical Group is committed to integrating electronic prescribing in its network of clinics across the Treasure Valley.

“Once providers get used to the technology, they thoroughly embrace it,” said Linda Duer, executive director, Idaho Physicians Network. “It is conservatively estimated that one in six handwritten prescriptions result in a call back from the pharmacist to the provider because of illegibility, high cost, or potential drug allergy or drug interaction. Electronic prescribing helps solve all of these issues.”

“Patients need to know about and ask for electronic prescriptions due to the increased safety and convenience. Physicians need to consider implementing electronic prescribing due to the increased efficiency,” said Dr. Eastman. “Imagine a world with far fewer pharmacy call-backs, and far less uncertainty about what has been prescribed for patients. That increased efficiency translates to more time with patients which benefits both patient and physician.”

In the interest of offering this service to as many Idahoans as possible, Primary Health Inc., and Idaho Physicians Network are providing electronic prescribing throughout the state. The software and technical process employed by Primary Health, Inc. and the Idaho Physicians Network was developed and is managed by DrFirst, based out of Maryland.

About Primary Health, Inc: The Primary Health, Inc. family of companies includes Primary Health Plan featuring SmartHealth health insurance, Riverside Benefit Administrators, and the Idaho Physicians Network. For more information about Primary Health, Inc. or SmartHealth please visit our web site at: or call 208-333-1500.

About the Idaho Physicians Network (IPN): IPN is the Idaho provider network for some of the state’s largest health plans, including United HealthCare, Aetna, Cigna, and Great West Health Plans in addition to Primary Health Plan. IPN was started in 1993, and now works with 75 national and regional based insurance companies, third-party administrators, as well as local and state insurers. One out of every six Idahoans who are covered by a commercially based carrier has access to the IPN network of providers. For more information about Idaho Physicians Network visit