BCBSNC Makes Electronic Prescribing Available Statewide

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Imagine a health care provider saving time and money by simply tapping a patient's prescription into a PDA or computer, and getting immediate feedback about medical history and any possible drug interactions. Imagine the time a pharmacist could save not having to call a doctor's office to verify that prescription. Imagine the patient leaving their doctor's office, driving to their pharmacy and finding the prescription ready and waiting. No dropping off the prescription and having to wait and pick it up. And, imagine the peace of mind every patient could have knowing that their prescription won't interact with other known medications.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
 
Sound like science fiction? The future is here through electronic prescribing, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is making ePrescribing more readily available to physicians and pharmacies throughout North Carolina.
 
In a ground-breaking effort to improve patient safety, control costs and reduce medication errors, BCBSNC announced today that the company has launched a new ePrescribing website, a one stop shop for hardware and software solutions, making electronic prescribing more directly accessible to North Carolina providers. With the launch of a new ePrescribe website, bcbsnc.com/providers/eprescribe, providers will have ready access to free Web-based ePrescribing software, vendor sources for discounted hardware (PDA's) and connectivity, and a variety of other ePrescribing technology options.
 
"The success of our ePrescribe pilot program convinced us to make electronic prescribing more readily available now to all North Carolina providers," said BCBSNC President and CEO Bob Greczyn. "Our pilot program clearly shows that ePrescribing reduces physician and pharmacy administrative costs, saves customers money and ensures patient safety by reducing potential medical errors. Electronic prescribing is the way of the future. "
 
Since the pilot ePrescribe program in 2006 over 4 million electronic prescriptions have been written. It is estimated that electronic prescribing can generate costs savings of approximately $250 per doctor per month because of increased use of generics, avoidance of unnecessary or inappropriate prescriptions and other efficiencies.
 
Beginning today, providers statewide can sign up for ePrescribe through the BCBSNC website.

"We're aware that Medicare could require the use of electronic prescribing several years from now," said BCBSNC Vice President of Employer Health and Corporate Pharmacy Ron Smith. "We want to make this process easier and we've created a one-stop resource for information, discounts and connectivity. We hope the majority of providers will give it a try before any potential mandates require its use."
 
In addition, BCBSNC is partnering with Community Care of North Carolina and its 14 regional healthcare networks in this statewide ePrescribe launch. It's anticipated that adding this group of providers serving 800,000 patients will add an additional 3500 ePrescribing providers. Community Care of North Carolina, which was established by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to improve care for Medicaid recipients, has become a national leader in building medical home and community-based care management systems.
 
Community Care will be providing educational, technical, and grant support to eligible prescribers in adopting ePrescribing in their practices. Support for the Community Care work is coming from the NC Division of Medical Assistance.
 
"We are very pleased to be joining with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina on this important initiative, said North Carolina Medicaid Director William Lawrence, M.D. By working together we have the opportunity to improve care for North Carolinians and to establish North Carolina as a national leader in ePrescribing."
 
Allen Dobson, M.D., Chair of NC Community Care Networks, Inc. said that "by giving physicians a complete picture of a patient's medications, ePrescribing can help prevent medication errors and can improve patient care outcomes."
 
As an additional incentive, BCBSNC is offering a one-time $1000 incentive to BCBSNC network providers who meet certain ePrescribing criteria. In order to qualify for this incentive, BCBSNC network providers must be registered with a certified ePrescribing vendor and access medication history for a minimum of 20 patients in 4th quarter of 2008. Incentives will be paid in 1st quarter 2009. Any pharmacies not currently able to accept electronic prescriptions that become electronically enabled by the end of 2008 will also qualify for a $1000 incentive.
 
 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 904,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 75 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
 
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