Coming to a Pharmacy Near You: New "E-Prescriptions Filled Here" Signs Mean Patients Can Give Their Prescriptions a Head Start and Reduce Time Spent at the Pharmacy
Thousands of Independent Pharmacies Join with CVS/pharmacy, Duane Reade, Giant Food Pharmacy, Kerr Drug, Longs Drugs, Osco Drug, Rite Aid, Sav-On Pharmacy, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Other Chain Pharmacies to Launch Nationwide Campaign Designed to Educate Patients and Physicians on the Benefits of Electronic Prescribing
WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 29, 2008 - For millions of patients who make two trips to the pharmacy following their doctor's visit - one to drop off the prescription and another to pick it up - there is good news. Taking advantage of a technology called "e-prescriptions" already in place at more than 40,000 pharmacies nationwide, a patient can choose to have their prescription electronically transmitted to the pharmacy before they ever leave their doctor's office.
"In 2007, patients in the U.S. left their doctors office with at least one prescription on 550 million separate occasions. The next time you or anyone you know goes to the doctor's office and the doctor takes out their pad and pen to write a prescription, take the opportunity to ask your doctor for an e-prescription instead," said Tammy Lewis, chief marketing officer of SureScripts. "Instead of hand carrying your paper prescription to the pharmacy, your physician can use a computer or handheld device with special software that allows them to create and securely send an electronic version of your prescription directly to your pharmacist's computer."
Created by the nation's independent and chain pharmacies in 2001, SureScripts operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, a private, secure, nationwide network that carries e-prescriptions from the physician's computer to the pharmacist's computer.
For patients, e-prescriptions and the process known as "e-prescribing" make for a paperless and therefore more efficient and more convenient approach to obtaining prescription medications. By removing the use of paper (i.e. prescription pads and printed or faxed prescriptions) altogether, e-prescriptions also improve safety by eliminating the need for pharmacists to interpret illegible handwriting.
"It's the convenience, the safety, I get there and it's ready," said Debra Kasik from Webster, Massachusetts. "I grab my prescription and I go home and cook supper."
"I just go directly to the pharmacy, pick up her prescription and go home," said Carla Couto, mother of a seven month old baby girl from West Warwick, Rhode Island. "It's very convenient."
"As a mother of a nine year old and three year old twins, I know what it's like to have a sick child in the back seat in need of medication," said Lewis who patronizes the same pharmacy from her childhood in Yonkers, New York. "The opportunity to eliminate unnecessary trips and reduce time spent at the pharmacy can make a huge difference."
Electronic prescribing also enhances safety by enabling physicians to access their patients' prescription information at the point of care, which allows them to take into account a patient's prescription history, allergies and potentially harmful drug interactions before they complete a prescription and transmit it to the pharmacy. Such information at the point of care has been proven to eliminate erroneous, unsafe prescriptions as well as drive higher generic utilization,
lowering the cost of the prescription to the patient and greatly reducing pharmacy callbacks to the physician's office.
According to a February 2006 survey of more than 1,000 American adults, the vast majority - three out of four - feel that their physician would provide them with better care if the physician had access to their current and past medication record, including information from other doctors.
Patients who are interested in learning more about how e-prescriptions benefit them and their families can visit www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com. The Web site is part of a larger patient education campaign being launched today inside thousands of pharmacies throughout the United States. On the front doors and counters of pharmacy locations nationwide, patients will see new signs indicating "e-prescriptions filled here" while another invites patients to "give your prescription a head start."
"AARP strongly supports e-prescribing, which can help to reduce harmful errors, improve administrative efficiency, and keep the Medicare Part D drug benefit affordable," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.
Does My Physician E-Prescribe?
Patients can also use LearnAboutEprescriptions.com to easily find out if their physician is currently e-prescribing. By simply typing in their ZIP code, patients can quickly discover which physicians in their community e-prescribe. For a
patient whose physician is not currently e-prescribing, the Web site allows them a unique opportunity to educate their physician about e-prescriptions. Patients can either email or print helpful information that shows their doctors how eprescriptions not only benefit patients, but can save doctors time and money and improve the quality of care at their practice.
Although more than 70 percent of the nation's community pharmacies can receive e-prescriptions, only six percent of physicians currently have the ability to send them. Patients who are interested in helping to close this gap - and in
benefiting directly from e-prescriptions - are empowered to direct their physicians to a separate Web site launched recently by several leading physician groups - www.GetRxConnected.com (see section below "For Physicians Interested in E-Prescribing").
"Not only are e-prescriptions more convenient for patients, but the same goes for physicians," said Dr. Bruce Muma, an internist and pediatrician from West Bloomfield, Michigan. "No more handwritten paper prescriptions or faxes
mean that we spend less time on the phone with the pharmacy clarifying and confirming prescription information. Eprescribing\ also provides immediate access to accurate information about a patient's medication history and the treatment options that are covered by a patient's drug plan. This saves time and improves quality and safety. Whether you are a patient, a pharmacist or a physician - e-prescriptions are good medicine."
"The e-prescribing consumer awareness campaign is a big value because it notifies patients that they have an easier way of obtaining their prescriptions," said Dave Feeney, R.Ph. and owner of Oxnard Pharmacy in Warwick, Rhode Island. "E-prescribing also allows pharmacists to spend more time counseling patients. For example, we have a lot of diabetes patients. With the time savings from e-prescriptions, we have more time to counsel them on diabetes education."
"We are pleased to see many drug store companies embracing this effort," said National Association of Chain Drug Stores President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. ""Educating patients about the benefits of e-prescriptions and encouraging them to ask their physicians about e-prescriptions is an important step in helping to spread the word about how e-prescriptions improve the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care."
"Independent community pharmacies understand the benefit of e-prescribing and are excited about the campaign to better inform consumers, therefore allowing them to drive the demand for e-prescriptions," said Bruce Roberts, R.Ph., executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association."
For Physicians Interested in E-Prescribing The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) recently launched a nationwide program designed to boost adoption and utilization of eprescribing technology.
Created in conjunction with The Center for Improving Medication Management (www.TheCIMM.org), the program aims to help an estimated 150,000 prescribers located throughout the United States that are currently using eprescribing
and electronic medical record software to fax prescriptions to pharmacies. Starting January 1, 2009, all computer-generated prescriptions covered by the Medicare Part D program must be transmitted electronically and not via fax. The "Get Connected" program is an opportunity to help these physicians make the transition from fax to electronic prescribing before the deadline arrives. Through GetRxConnected.com, physicians and their staffs can find out if their existing software is compliant with the new Medicare regulations and can receive a free, personalized report to help them request an electronic connection to pharmacies through their vendor.
The Get Connected program is equally intended for physicians and practice management professionals who have yet to invest in EMR or other clinical software. The portal provides guidance on how to evaluate and acquire technology
that supports e-prescribing. GetRxConnected.com also helps physicians and practice management professionals to assess the financial impact of e-prescribing using an interactive feature that allows them to calculate an estimate of
the time and resources their practice is currently dedicating to the manual processing of prescriptions.
Momentum Is Building for E-Prescribing at the National and State Levels
In December 2007, U.S. Senator John Kerry joined with former Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation Newt Gingrich and a number of Senate colleagues to announce the introduction of the Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection Act ("E-MEDS"). U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz introduced companion legislation in the House in December 2007.The E-MEDS bill proposes to offer physicians reimbursements for investing in e-prescribing technology as well as incentive payments each time a prescription is transmitted electronically and the claim is submitted through Medicare.
In early December 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the Drug Enforcement Agency's policy prohibiting e-prescribing of controlled substances. This policy requires physician practices to maintain two separate processes for prescribing: one that is paper-based for controlled substances and another that is electronically based for all other medications. In the view of many physicians and pharmacists, the administrative burden of maintaining two separate processes is a significant barrier to adoption and use of e-prescribing. If the DEA were to permit eprescribing of controlled substances, it would represent another potential boost to e-prescribing adoption and use.
E-Prescribing Adoption and Utilization: State and National Statistics
Individuals who are interested in finding out how their state is progressing in its overall efforts to move from paperbased prescribing to e-prescribing can go to www.surescripts.com/Safe-Rx. There they will find a complete ranking of
all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on e-prescribing activity. The Web site also contains a detailed progress report on each state's efforts to date.
There remains a sizable opportunity to increase the adoption and utilization of e-prescribing across the country.
Although SureScripts estimates that more than 100 million prescription transactions will be routed electronically in 2008, this figure only represents approximately 7 percent of eligible prescriptions (see National Progress Report on
E-Prescribing at www.surescripts.com/report). The realization of e-prescribing's full potential represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve the efficiency of the prescribing process.
The Economics of E-Prescribing: For Physicians, Time Is Money
By eliminating paper from the prescribing process, e-prescribing has been proven to offer significant time savings by removing the need for phone calls and faxes. This, in turn, allows prescribers and their staffs more time to care for
A study by the Medical Group Management Association's Group Practice Research Network estimated that administrative complexity related to prescriptions costs a practice approximately $15,700 a year for each full-time physician on staff - a figure that does not even take into consideration the time spent managing faxes.
Multiplying that figure by an estimated 563,000 office-based physicians currently practicing and prescribing medications in the United States reveals an opportunity for e-prescribing to significantly reduce the up to estimated $8.8 billion worth of physician and staff time spent on the phone clarifying prescription information.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's largest retail pharmacy with more than 6,300 retail locations. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://www.cvs.com/pressroom, as well as http://investor.cvs.com.
About Duane Reade Founded in 1960, Duane Reade is the largest drug store chain in the metropolitan New York City area, offering a wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, health and beauty care items, cosmetics, greeting cards, photo supplies and photofinishing. As of September 29, 2007, the Company operated 241 stores.
About Giant Food Giant Food LLC, headquartered in Landover, MD, operates 185 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 21,000 associates. Included within the 185 stores are 166 full-service pharmacies. For more on Giant, visit www.giantfood.com.
About Kerr Drug
Kerr Drug is one of the most recognized and respected names in the chain drug industry. With its roots in the Carolinas and headquarters in Raleigh, Kerr Drug is taking the vision of community pharmacy farther than any other drug chain. The company has placed its future on its unique ability to provide patients, the medical community, and health plan sponsors, access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and wellness offering in the industry. With a mission to be the most comprehensive provider of pharmacy and related health care services, while continuing to be the most reliable provider of health related and convenience items, Kerr is currently providing services that far exceed the traditional drug store mix. For more information, please visit www.kerrdrug.com.
About Longs Drugs Stores Corporation Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Longs Drug Stores Corporation (NYSE: LDG) is one of the most recognized retail drug store chains on the West Coast and in Hawaii. The Company operates 512 retail pharmacies and offers a wide assortment of merchandise focusing on health,
wellness, beauty and convenience. Longs also provides pharmacy benefit management services and Medicare beneficiary prescription drug plans through its wholly-owned subsidiary, RxAmerica, LLC. Additional information about Longs and its services is available at http://www.longs.com and more information about RxAmerica is available at http://www.rxamerica.com.
About Rite Aid Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with more than 5,000 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia with fiscal 2008 annual sales of more than $24.3 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at http://www.riteaid.com.
About Stop & Shop The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, based in Quincy, Massachusetts, employs more than 59,000 associates and operates 389 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey. Triple Winner is a trademark of The Hutton Company.
About SUPERVALU Pharmacies With more than 920 in-store pharmacies nationwide, SUPERVALU Pharmacies is the 9th largest pharmacy provider in the United States, operating under nine retail brands, including Acme Sav-on Pharmacy, Albertsons Sav-on Pharmacy, bigg's Pharmacy, Cub Pharmacy, Farm Fresh Pharmacy, Osco Pharmacy,
Shaw's Osco Pharmacy, Shop'n Save Pharmacy, and Shoppers Pharmacy. For more information about SUPERVALU Pharmacies, visit www.supervalupharmacies.com.
About SureScripts Founded by the pharmacy industry in 2001, SureScripts® operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, which facilitates the secure electronic transmission of prescription information between physicians and pharmacists and provides access to lifesaving information about patients during emergencies or
routine care. Working collaboratively with health plans, health systems, technology vendors and health policy leaders, SureScripts is committed to improving the safety, efficiency, and quality of the prescribing process. More information
about SureScripts is available at www.surescripts.com.
About Walgreens Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2007 sales of $53.8 billion. The company operates 6,271 stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Walgreens is expanding its patient-first health care services beyond traditional pharmacy through Walgreens Health Services, its managed care division, and Take Care Health Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary that manages 154 convenient care clinics at Walgreens drugstores.
Walgreens Health Services assists pharmacy patients and prescription drug and medical plans through Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc. (a pharmacy benefit manager), Walgreens Mail Service Inc., Walgreens Home Care Inc., Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy LLC and SeniorMed LLC (a pharmacy provider to long-term care facilities). More information about Walgreens is available at Walgreens.com.
About Wal-Mart Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com
Mike DeAngelis CVS/pharmacy
Melissa Kahaly Duane Reade
Jamie Miller Giant Food LLC
Mark J. Gregory, R.Ph. Kerr Drug
Mark L. Holz Longs Drugs
Cheryl Slavinsky Rite Aid Corporation
Robert Keane Stop & Shop
Cassie Richardson SUPERVALU Pharmacies
Rob Cronin SureScripts
Tiffani Bruce Walgreens
Deisha Galberth Wal-Mart