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TennCare and Shared Health(R) Partner to Deliver ePrescribing to Rural Physicians
Date:3/20/2008

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bureau of TennCare and Shared Health, Tennessee's largest public/private health information exchange (HIE), have launched a pilot program to introduce ePrescribing capabilities to rural physician practices located throughout the state.

The ePrescribing program is a community approach to facilitate efficient health care delivery and enhance patient care. Fifty rural physician practices across 13 Tennessee counties are participating in the TennCare ePrescribing pilot program. Each of the practices were chosen because none currently has access to, or the resources to implement, ePrescription technology within its practice. The purpose of the pilot program is to learn patterns, behaviors, and user satisfaction across different practices, specialties and locations.

As part of the program, participating physicians receive the tools needed to get started, free of charge -- including equipment, software, Internet access for prescribers, as well as training and support. Participating physicians will gain access to a medication database, automatic prescription histories, real-time notification of TennCare and other insurance formulary status, automated checks for drug interactions, dosage levels, and patient- specific factors, including any previous adverse reactions.

The ePrescribing program provides technology to enable physicians to directly route prescriptions to pharmacies that participate with the TennCare Pharmacy Benefits Manager. Approved pharmacies will be reimbursed the transaction fee associated with filling prescriptions by use of ePrescribing in the 13 counties.

"TennCare is excited to bring this Shared Health product free of charge to physicians with limited technology resources," said Wendy Long, MD, chief medical officer, TennCare. "The opportunity for doctors to access the efficiencies and built-in safeguards of an electronic prescribing system can only improve patient care."

The pilot program highlights the potential of clinical information-sharing and streamlined prescribing workflow for rural practices. "Shared Health is very excited about this opportunity to demonstrate the many advantages of electronic prescribing, which has proven its value for safety and efficient medication management. More importantly, this pilot will help us learn more about the process of electronic prescribing, providing insights into how we can make these effective applications even better," explained Bruce Taffel, M.D., chief medical officer of Shared Health.

The implementation of the program took place in early March, and the program runs through June 30. Within 30 days of the conclusion of the pilot, TennCare and Shared Health will closely examine the utilization patterns of participating physicians to determine the features that are most useful to rural physicians. The effectiveness of the program will be measured by:

-- Comparing prescription patterns for participants before and after

implementation;

-- Percent of prior authorizations compared with total prescriptions;

-- Trends in the use of generic prescriptions;

-- Attitude changes; and

-- Level of provider satisfaction.

Physician response to the program has been enthusiastic. "The ePrescribing process increases patient safety tremendously for the members in our database," said Marek Durakiewicz, M.D., chief of staff for Hickman Community Hospital. "Having access to the patient insurance formulary information saves time and makes the prescribing process easier for us," he continued.

Dawn James, R.N., chief nursing officer for Hickman Community Hospital, added, "We are extremely fortunate to be included in this pilot to not only make things more efficient and safe for the providers, but also our patients. Without this funding and assistance, those of us in a rural community would not be able to provide this type of technology for our providers. We hope to see an increase in patient satisfaction as well as the satisfaction of our employees."

The pilot program will serve as a catalyst of ePrescribing adoption among rural physician practices based on its demonstrated value. TennCare believes that information solutions like those offered by Shared Health represent a huge opportunity to help physicians increase clinical quality, reduce unnecessary costs, and streamline workflows.

About TennCare

TennCare is Tennessee's managed-care Medicaid program, serving approximately 1.2 million low-income children, pregnant women, and disabled Tennesseans, with an annual budget of $7 billion.

About Shared Health

Shared Health is transforming health care by offering innovative health information technology solutions that improve quality and lower costs. Shared Health's web-based applications securely share and connect medical information across a patient's network of clinicians. We continually strive to be the clinician's trusted partner for sharing relevant patient information at the point of care, enabling both health care professionals and consumers to improve outcomes. For more information on Shared Health, visit the company's web site at http://www.sharedhealth.com.


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SOURCE Shared Health
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