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CVS Caremark to migrate e-prescribing to Allscripts

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. plans to move to a new electronic prescribing platform under an agreement with health information technology provider Allscripts.

The drug store chain and pharmacy benefit manager said Thursday that, under the pact, it will transition the thousands of providers now using its proprietary iScribe e-prescribing tool to Allscripts’ e-prescribing system and then retire iScribe.

According to CVS Caremark, the agreement with Allscripts — which it called the largest provider of e-prescribing and electronic health record (EHR) solutions — will enhance the pharmacy company’s ability to support its payer and employer clients in driving e-prescribing adoption throughout their networks.

CVS Caremark explained that e-prescribing often serves as a first step toward adoption of a full EHR, which provides e-prescribing capabilities and automates the daily clinical tasks of caregivers and connects them to key health care stakeholders.

Also under the agreement, iScribe users will be able to transition to a full Allscripts EHR, which will allow them to qualify under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for between $44,000 and $64,000 in federal incentive payments beginning in 2011. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already provides financial incentives for e-prescribing under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), CVS Caremark noted.

As the adoption of e-prescribing technology and EHRs grows, CVS Caremark said it aims to focus its efforts at the point of care, including initiatives with market leaders such as Allscripts to deliver enhanced information about plan design, drug formulary, generic drug options, potential drug interactions, and ultimately care plans to providers at the point of care to help improve quality, ensure safety and provide the most cost-effective treatment protocols.

The benefits of this technology push include savings for patients, payers and employers; an enhanced customer experience at the pharmacy; and improved patient medication compliance and, in turn, better health outcomes, according to CVS Caremark.

"This represents a natural progression of our work in the expanding e-prescribing industry," Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer at CVS Caremark, said in a statement.

"We helped define this market through our participation as one of the founders of the Surescripts network, which connects prescribers to critical prescribing information and the pharmacy, and as an early provider of e-prescribing tools," Brennan continued. "Working directly with Allscripts in this next phase will strengthen our ability to deliver scalable e-prescribing solutions, which include valuable information, to meet our clients’ business and clinical goals."

CVS Caremark added that the pact with Allscripts also includes a broader e-prescribing and e-health strategy involving the two companies as well as extends CVS Caremark’s reach to prescribers. The pharmacy company said Allscripts offers physicians an array of solutions, ranging from a stand-alone mobile smartphone e-prescribing solution to robust EHR with embedded e-prescribing technology.

"Electronic prescribing is a proven technology that can improve health outcomes by reducing medication errors, leading to lower health care costs," commented Glen Tullman, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Allscripts.

"With this partnership, CVS Caremark has demonstrated its continuing leadership in the promotion of patient safety by preparing former iScribe physicians to take advantage of the new federal incentives for adoption of electronic health records, which let them not only e-prescribe but automate and connect their clinical operations for higher quality and greater efficiency," Tullman explained. "We also look forward to working with CVS Caremark to provide valuable new information that will help physicians and caregivers better manage patient care."

As part of an alliance with Microsoft HealthVault formed in 2008, CVS Caremark last September began enabling its retail pharmacy customers to download prescription histories into a personal HealthVault record

The arrangement also has allowed consumers using CVS Caremark PBM services to store, organize and manage their prescription data online via the HealthVault platform. Patients treated at MinuteClinic retail health clinics, too, have been able to import their visit summaries and laboratory test results into their HealthVault records.


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