Medco teams up with Ohio insurer to speed conversion to e-prescribing

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. A major pharmacy benefit management organization and a large health insurer are teaming up in Ohio to launch a new campaign to encourage the use of electronic prescribing.

Behind the collaboration: Medco Health Solutions and Medical Mutual of Ohio. The two firms are jointly sponsoring a program to help physicians use personal computers and wireless devices to write prescriptions and transmit them to the pharmacy electronically for filling.

The goal, according to Medco and Medical Mutual, is “delivering improved patient safety, reducing prescription drug costs and boosting physician practice efficiency.” The program runs through September 2010.

One big factor driving the effort, said John Driscoll, Medco’s new markets president, is both companies’ realization that “e-prescribing puts life-saving information about adverse drug events in front of the doctor at the point of care.” Driscoll called paperless prescribing “a critical component to transforming healthcare from our present system to one that is efficient, sustainable and patient-centered.”

The program includes financial incentives for participating physicians who adopt e-prescribing into their practice.

According to the 2008 State Progress Report on Electronic Prescribing, Ohio ranked 13th in the nation in its rate of electronic prescription transmissions vs. paper prescribing.

Almost 5% of prescriptions within the state were transmitted electronically in 2008, up from 2.5% in 2007.