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California Begins Large E-Prescribing Initiative

The state of California’s efforts to move into the age of wired healthcare received a shot in the arm recently as The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) joined with Anthem Blue Cross, Medco Health Solutions, Inc, and Blue Shield of California to launch the state’s largest e-prescribing initiative to date. Medco Health Solutions is providing project management resources for the pilot program.

The pilot program, the latest large-scale initiative in the United States, will use input from participating physicians to determine the best ways to employ e-prescribing technology in their practices and facilitate use by all prescribers. Program organizers will track results such as the number of identified preventable adverse drug events, use of e-prescribing, and generic drug and formulary prescribing rates. A report to be released at the end of the study will showcase results of the pilot program.

The scope of the project includes working with several physician groups that serve CalPERS members in addition to other patients in the community. The health plans Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California will each work with the pilot medical groups and their chosen e-prescribing vendors to address barriers to e-prescribing.

The physician groups volunteering for this pilot include Hill Physicians Medical Group, John Muir Physician Network, PrimeCare Medical Network, Inc/North American Medical Management of California, San Jose Medical Group, and Santé Community Physicians.

According to the 2008 Electronic Prescribing Progress Report, California ranked 22nd in the nation for use of e-prescribing, down from 18 in 2006 and 14 in 2005; only 1.44% of prescriptions within the state were transmitted electronically in 2007. The need exists for continued coordination between all parties involved in the e-prescription process to address barriers to e-prescribing.

Sources: CalPERS; Anthem Blue Cross; Blue Shield of California; Medco Health Solutions, Inc