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Prescription for Change: New Survey Shows ePrescribing Connecting with its Biggest Skeptics ... Physicians

- As Medicare Legislation on Technology Gains Momentum, Physicians Trumpet the Value of ePrescribing in Significantly Improving Patient Safety and

Quality of Care

DETROIT, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Efforts to expand the use of ePrescribing technology received an important boost from new research released today showing ePrescribing receives high marks from constituents whose opinion about the technology may count the most -- physicians.

A major obstacle to widespread adoption of ePrescribing has been perception of physician resistance. But a new survey of 500 physician practices that have participated in a three-year pilot program demonstrates that a large majority of doctors and their staff who use the technology believe that it allows them to practice safer and better medicine.

According to the survey conducted by HaldyMcIntosh & Associates for the Southeastern Michigan ePrescribing Initiative (SEMI), three out of four prescribers believe strongly that ePrescribing improves safety for their patients, and nearly 70 percent say it improves the quality of care. One of the important benefits of ePrescribing cited by physicians is the safety alerts that warn of potentially harmful drug-drug interactions and drug- allergy risks at the time of prescribing. Nearly 65 percent of physician ePrescribers reported at least one incident of changing a prescription in response to a safety alert received through the system -- a strong statistic demonstrating that ePrescribing can help prevent against dangerous and costly adverse drug events.

SEMI is a broad coalition that includes 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., CVS Caremark Corporation, RxHub, LLC and SureScripts(R). The survey polled physician practices participating in the SEMI program to gain insight into their attitudes toward and experience with ePrescribing.

Survey results show that more than 70 percent of respondents are very satisfied with ePrescribing technology. More than 80 percent of all prescriptions written by those polled are currently done electronically, and four out of 10 now only write ePrescriptions.

"As a participant in SEMI, I experienced firsthand the valuable benefits of ePrescribing, and it is encouraging to see that my fellow physicians are also recognizing this value and embracing the technology," said Steven D. Grant, MD, FACP, president/CEO, United Physicians, PC. "If more physicians take the leap and implement ePrescribing into their practices, they will see that ePrescribing can be an important partner in providing safe, high quality care for patients."

Past concerns voiced by physicians hesitant to adopt ePrescribing technology include the difficulties and time demands of learning a new technology and questions over its usefulness. Findings from the survey could help assuage those concerns:

-- For nine out of 10 surveyed, ePrescribing met or exceeded their


-- More than 70 percent saw a reduction in communications with pharmacies

over prescription questions; for 40 percent, the reduction was

substantial. Research shows that physicians typically spend more than

three hours a day handling phone calls and extra work from prescription


-- More than half strongly agree that ePrescribing saves clinicians time

and increases productivity.

Based on the survey findings, the SEMI partners will extend the initiative and continue to enroll physicians through June 30.

"We are encouraged by these survey results which show overwhelming physician approval," said Kate Kohn-Parrott, director integrated health care and disability, Chrysler LLC. "Patient safety and cost benefits from the Southeastern Michigan ePrescribing Initiative are already well-documented. With physicians reporting productivity improvements and their satisfaction with the program, e-Prescribing is moving closer to more universal acceptance."

While respondents widely agree on many important benefits of ePrescribing, there is less of a consensus when it comes to cost savings. Two out of three of those polled report being more likely to prescribe a generic or plan- preferred drug when using an ePrescribing system. However, one in four physicians believe that the technology may not reduce costs for their patients or their practice.

"We know that ePrescribers are more likely to engage in cost-savings practices, such as prescribing a lower-cost alternative, and in some cases it may mean a substantial reduction in a patient's costs," said John Driscoll, president of new markets for Medco. "What is striking about these survey findings is that physicians who make the transition to ePrescribing become big fans of what the technology does for their practice and their patients, and it's important that we continue to work toward changing the perception among doctors who are not making that connection."

Results released in 2007 from the SEMI program support the survey findings that ePrescribing improves safety and formulary compliance. A review of 3.3 million electronic prescriptions written by physicians participating in SEMI showed the following:

-- When a formulary alert was presented, the physician changed the

prescription 39 percent of the time to comply with formulary


-- There were more than 1 million alerts sent on moderate to severe drug-

to-drug risks, 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.

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 United Auto Workers (UAW), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Medical Group, Medco Health Solutions, Inc., CVS Caremark Corporation, RxHub, LLC and SureScripts(R).

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

About GM

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at

About Ford

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), 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

About Chrysler

Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Its product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Charger. The Company sells and services vehicles in more than 125 countries around the world. The operations outside North America have been experiencing year-over-year sales increases since 2004, with a record number of vehicles sold in 2007. The Chrysler Foundation -- the primary source of charitable grants made by Chrysler -- annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations with an emphasis on community growth and enrichment, education, arts and culture, public policy, youth development and disaster relief programs throughout the United States and, increasingly, the world. Chrysler is a unit of Cerberus Capital Management.

About HAP

Headquartered in Detroit, Health Alliance Plan is a nonprofit health plan serving 545,000 members and 2,000 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, SOLO individual plans and high-deductible 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 (, 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., (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2007 total net revenues of more than $44 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering one in five Americans, 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, the world's most advanced pharmacy(TM), is positioned to serve the unique needs of patients with chronic and complex conditions through its Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R); its diabetes pharmacy care practice, Liberty Medical; and its specialty pharmacy operation, Accredo Health Group, Inc. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2007 Fortune 500 list. On the Net:

About CVS Caremark

CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) 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, General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company's website, at, as well as through the pressroom portion of the Company's website, at

SOURCE Southeastern Michigan ePrescribing Initiative
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