SEATTLE, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians throughout Washington will
soon be able to download -- to their handheld personal data assistants -- the
prescription-drug formulary used by Regence BlueShield. Regence BlueShield has
one of the largest networks of participating physicians in the state.
A formulary is a list of prescription drugs covered by a health plan. Many
doctors in Washington already use PDA software called the ePocrates Rx(TM)
drug-reference guide. Because of an agreement signed this week by The Regence
Group with ePocrates Inc., the physicians will be able to refer anytime to the
current Blues formulary on their handheld devices.
The ePocrates' software with the Regence BlueShield formulary will help
doctors prescribe drugs more effectively by showing not only drug-benefit
information but also up-to-date drug facts. The PDA screen presents what dose
should be prescribed depending on the condition. It also describes potential
adverse reactions and possible interactions with other drugs.
"Through this high-tech tool we'll help physicians serve their patients
better. It streamlines the prescription-writing process," said David Clark,
Regence vice president of Pharmacy Services. "Today many doctors prescribe
drugs that are not on our formulary. With the formulary information available
on the doctors' PDAs, we'll eliminate a lot of the inconvenience for doctors,
members and pharmacies. This brings all the information together, including
medication choices and clinical and formulary information."
A popular drug reference, ePocrates Rx(TM) is used by more than 290,000
physicians nationwide. It combines formulary information from health plans,
hospitals, provider organizations and pharmacy benefit management (PBM)
companies with clinical data -- such as dosing, adverse events, cautions and
Washington physicians using ePocrates Rx(TM) will have instant access to
information on drugs covered at lower patient co-pays, adult and pediatric
dosing, prior authorization requirements and quantity limits -- all downloaded
from the Internet into a PDA and viewed at the point of care.
"Integrating the Regence formulary into ePocrates Rx(TM) allows doctors to
select the right drug the first time. It lets them check the drug-benefit
coverage while they're looking up clinical information," said
Richard Fiedotin, M.D., ePocrates' vice president of Business Development. "It
also reduces the time spent on paperwork and pharmacy phone calls. This gives
doctors more time with their clinical practice."
Washington physicians will be able to begin to add the Regence BlueShield
formulary within the next few weeks. They will be notified when the formulary
Formularies from other Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans are part of
ePocrates Rx(TM). These include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan
Blue Care Network and Blue Shield of California, as well as many other
national and regional health plans.
The ePocrates product was recently selected as the Best Enterprise and
Best Overall winner for software developed for handheld devices. It was chosen
from more than 5,000 Palm OS(R) applications. The award was presented by
PalmSource Inc, the leading provider of operating system software and the Palm
OS(R) subsidiary of Palm. Palm chose ePocrates because of its widespread
adoption by the medical community.
A recent study showed that physicians using the ePocrates Rx(TM) handheld
electronic drug reference guide could avoid one to two adverse events per
week. The study was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and published in
the May/June issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association. The study also showed that the drug guide saved time for
physicians and improved the physician-patient relationship.
Regence BlueShield is the Washington leading health plan. The company
provides coverage for more than 1.1 members. It is also part of The Regence
Group, an affiliation of four Blue Plans in the intermountain and northwest
regions. The other Plans are Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence
BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Together they
cover some three million members.
The nation's largest handheld clinician network, ePocrates Inc. serves
more than 620,000 registered health-care professionals. In addition to
ePocrates Rx(TM), the company offers a clinical suite of products, ePocrates
Rx Pro, which includes an herbal database and an infectious disease
application. ePocrates also offers content hosting, messaging, market research
and clinical trial recruitment capabilities via its proprietary network.
Headquartered in San Mateo, ePocrates is a privately held company led by
president and CEO John Voris, former COO of PCS and veteran of Eli Lilly.
Richard Fiedotin, MD, and Jeff Tangney founded the company in 1998.
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SOURCE Regence BlueShield