New initiative launched for e-prescribing

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A coalition of the nation's most prominent technology companies and leading healthcare organizations announced today a national initiative to provide free electronic prescribing for every physician in America. The National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI) is the first nationwide effort to improve patient safety by offering a solution to the medication errors that harm millions of people each year.

"While medication errors and adverse drug events can be common and serious, electronic prescribing is clearly a tool that can dramatically reduce errors and improve patient safety," said Nancy W. Dickey, currently president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for Health Affairs at the Texas A &M University System and formerly president of the American Medical Association (AMA). "Yet despite the many benefits of electronic prescribing, physician adoption is still modest. The situation calls out for a solution that will overcome the barriers many physicians face in adopting this life-saving technology."

NEPSI will help address those barriers by providing physicians simple, safe and secure electronic prescribing at no cost. Allscripts’ eRx NOWT is available free to any healthcare provider with legal authority to prescribe medications, and requires no download, no new hardware, and minimal training.

NEPSI is led by Allscripts and by national sponsor Dell Computers Inc. Other technology companies sponsoring NEPSI are Cisco Systems Corp., Fujitsu Computers of America, Google, Microsoft Corp., Sprint Nextel Corp., SureScripts, and Wolters Kluwer Health.

"Medication errors represent a significant challenge for our nation and we know we can and we must do better by taking action – right now," said Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts. "The National e-Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative brings together a diverse group of technology companies, payers and physicians who share a commitment to one remarkable idea – that providing free electronic prescribing for every physician will ultimately reduce errors and improve care. This initiative delivers a simple yet comprehensive solution, and represents an on-ramp to a complete electronic health record."

A key element of the NEPSI initiative is the participation of a number of the nation's largest health benefits companies including Aetna and WellPoint, the nation's largest payer, and influential regional payers such as Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. The coalition's health benefits sponsors will provide a range of incentives to physicians in their networks to encourage adoption and use of electronic prescribing technology. Their view is that electronic prescribing adds quality and efficiency to the patient care process.

To add local presence and expertise, NEPSI also includes more than a dozen of the most prestigious and leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks and physician groups representing thousands of physicians across the country. These organizations will serve as regional supporters of NEPSI, leading the delivery and support of electronic prescribing to physicians in their states and regions by providing education, training, incentives and local physician support.

Interested physicians can visit the NEPSI web site, to register for the program. The solution is currently being used by physicians and will begin national deployment within 30 days.