Southeastern Michigan ePrescribing Initiative Reports Substantial Reduction in Medication Error Risks

http://money.cnn.com/

Successful Results lead GM, Ford, Chrysler and Michigan Health Plans to Extend the ePrescribing Pilot Program into 2008

ePrescribing significantly reduces medication errors, according to data released today from the Southeast Michigan ePrescribing Initiative (SEMI), a broad coalition involving General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler LLC, the United Auto Workers (UAW), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Medical Group, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. and CVS Caremark Corporation.

The analysis is the first to look at the overall results of the SEMI program that has generated nearly 6.2 million prescriptions using ePrescribing technology since its launch in February 2005. Today there are nearly 2,500 physician participants writing more than 282,000 ePrescriptions each month. The findings show that ePrescribing substantially improved patient safety by alerting physicians of risks related to drug interactions and other potential medication problems and resulted in a significant number of prescription changes that prevented possible adverse events.

Based on the program’s success thus far, the SEMI coalition partners will extend the ePrescribing initiative into 2008, continuing to enroll physicians through March. Since the program’s inception, the SEMI coalition partners have invested more than $1 million, with over $500,000 directly going to participating physicians and groups to help fund their related technology investments.

“The SEMI program results provide important proof that ePrescribing is a critical tool for physicians in improving patient safety,” said Marsha Manning, GM’s Manager of Southeast Michigan Community Health Care Initiatives. “The benefits of ePrescribing are overwhelming in terms of reducing medication errors, lowering prescription drug costs for patients and plans, and decreasing physician practices’ administrative costs. We hope that the physician experience with SEMI will convince many more Southeast Michigan doctors to enroll in the program in the coming months.”

The SEMI results show that among a sample of 3.3 million ePrescriptions reviewed for the analysis:

— A severe or moderate drug-to-drug alert was sent to physicians for more
than 1 million prescriptions (33 percent), resulting in nearly 423,000
(41 percent) of those prescriptions being changed or canceled by the
prescribing doctor;
— More than 100,000 medication allergy alerts were presented, of which
more than 41,000 (41 percent) were acted upon;
— Nearly 56,000 lists of dispensed prescription histories were downloaded
by physicians; and
— When a formulary alert was presented, 39 percent of the time the
physician changed the prescription to comply with formulary
requirements.

Through SEMI, physicians have a portfolio of various hardware and software options available to them to meet their individual needs. Doctors can use a personal computer or wireless device such as a Pocket PC to order or refill prescriptions, and then transmit them electronically to retail and mail-order pharmacies. ePrescribing capabilities are provided by DrFirst, Misys eScript, NextGen, Quest Diagnostics/MedPlus, Relay Health and RxNT.

“ePrescribing has improved my practice,” said Michael J. Williams, MD, a physician with Lifetime Medical Associates who is enrolled in the SEMI program. “Not only was it easy to implement and use, it helps me provide better, more efficient care for my patients. With ePrescribing, I make prescribing decisions based on drug-to-drug interactions, allergies and coverage rules, in addition to my patients’ clinical needs.”

The success of the SEMI program was highlighted earlier this year when SEMI was cited as a key contributor to the state of Michigan winning the 2007 Safe-Rx(TM) Award. Safe-Rx Awards are given each year to the 10 states that transmit the most electronic prescriptions as a percentage of the total number of prescriptions eligible for electronic routing. Based on an analysis of electronic prescriptions transmitted over the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange(TM) — operated by SureScripts — Michigan finished in sixth place – up from its tenth place finish the year before. RxHub, LLC provides the technology infrastructure that supports the secure, bi-directional exchange of patient-specific prescribing information between physicians and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and the transmission of the electronic prescriptions to mail-order pharmacies. To gain further information about the physician experience with ePrescribing, SEMI is currently conducting a survey of participating physicians. The results will be released in early 2008.

Advantages of ePrescribing

The Institute of Medicine’s report in July 2006 reported that 1.5 million people are harmed annually from medication errors. The benefits of ePrescribing technology include reducing potentially harmful drug interactions by alerting physicians of possible risks, eliminating illegible physician hand-written prescriptions that can lead to medication dispensing errors, and eliminating patient wait time at the pharmacy by furnishing physicians with benefit plan details at the point of prescribing so that changes won’t be needed when the prescription is being filled.

About SEMI

Launched in February 2005, The Southeast Michigan ePrescribing Initiative is one of the largest, employer-driven ePrescribing initiatives to encourage the adoption and use of ePrescribing, and validate the impact of ePrescribing technology on improving patient safety and reducing prescription drug costs. SEMI is a joint collaboration between General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler LLC, the UAW, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Health System, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. and CVS/Caremark Corp.

Physicians interested in joining SEMI may call 1-800-722-8979 for more information.

About GM

General Motors Corp. , the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

About Ford

Ford Motor Company , a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit http://www.fordvehicles.com.

About Chrysler

Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2006 were 2.7 million vehicles. Sales outside of North America were the highest in a decade with an increase of 15 percent over 2005. On the heels of the company’s record product launch year (Chrysler launched 10 all-new vehicles in 2006), the company plans to extend that streak with eight all-new products in 2007. Its product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Charger. The Chrysler Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, gave $23.6 million in grants in 2006. Chrysler is a unit of Cerberus Capital Management.

About HAP

Headquartered in Detroit, Health Alliance Plan is a nonprofit health plan serving 576,000 members and 2,800 employer groups. HAP is a subsidiary of the Henry Ford Health System, one of the nation’s leading regional health care systems. The health plan serves companies of all sizes through the flagship HMO, PPOs, Medicare Advantage plans, experience-rated, fully insured and self- funded products, and consumer-driven health plans with compatible health savings accounts. The National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded HAP’s commercial HMO and HAP Senior Plus, its Medicare Advantage HMO, Excellent Accreditation.

About Henry Ford Medical Group

The Henry Ford Medical Group is one of the nation’s largest group practices, with 1,000 physicians and researchers in more than 40 specialties who staff Henry Ford Hospital and 25 Henry Ford medical centers in Southeast Michigan. It is part of Henry Ford Health System (www.henryford.com), one of the country’s leading health care systems, that integrates primary and specialty care with research and education.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred, Community Blue and Healthy Blue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; Flexible Blue plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue products in the under-age-65 individual market. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. is the nation’s leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2006 total net revenues of more than $42 billion. Medco’s prescription drug benefit programs are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy health care for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, and for individuals served by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. Medco’s technologically advanced mail-order pharmacies and award-winning Internet pharmacy have been recognized for setting new industry benchmarks for pharmacy dispensing quality. Medco serves the needs of patients with complex conditions requiring sophisticated treatment through its specialty pharmacy operation, which became the nation’s largest with the 2005 acquisition of Accredo Health, Incorporated. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2007 Fortune 500 list. On the Net: http://www.medco.com.

About CVS Caremark

CVS Caremark is the largest provider of prescriptions and related healthcare services in the nation. The Company fills or manages more than 1 billion prescriptions annually. Through its unmatched breadth of service offerings, CVS Caremark is transforming the delivery of healthcare services in the U.S. The Company is uniquely positioned to effectively manage costs and improve healthcare outcomes through its 6,200 CVS/pharmacy stores; its pharmacy benefit management, mail order and specialty pharmacy division, Caremark Pharmacy Services; its retail-based health clinic subsidiary, MinuteClinic; and its online pharmacy, CVS.com. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company’s website, at http://investor.cvs.com, as well as through the pressroom portion of the Company’s website, at www.cvs.com/pressroom.
see original