Emdeon Inc. (NYSE: EM), a leading provider of healthcare revenue and payment cycle management solutions, announced its support for the approval of security standards for the electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) of controlled substances and its commitment to assist the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the healthcare industry in implementation of the Interim Final Rule for ePrescribing controlled substances.
As the only ePrescribing network with market-based experience in this area, Emdeon is already demonstrating the achievability of ePrescribing of controlled substances and its potential impact on healthcare through its eRx Network. Citing experience gained during a multi-year research project in Massachusetts for ePrescribing of controlled substances, Emdeon anticipates that full implementation of the Interim Final Rule would be a major leap forward for healthcare safety, efficiency and cost savings in the United States.
"Our market experience during the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) research project indicates that electronic prescribing for controlled substances is safe and a practical necessity. The potential impact is tremendous," said George Lazenby, chief executive officer of Emdeon. "Elements of the Health Reform legislation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are already moving the market toward ePrescribing. The expansion of electronic prescribing capabilities to include the nearly 11 percent of prescriptions that are estimated by the DEA for controlled substances will accelerate adoption and bring the benefits of ePrescribing to our healthcare system that much more quickly."
The MDPH research project was funded by the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) as part of a long-term effort to demonstrate that electronic prescribing for controlled substances is technologically feasible, enhances the secure management of these medications and potentially can increase patient safety. The project began in 2007 lead by MDPH with participation from DrFirst, a leading ePrescribing software vendor; Berkshire Health Systems, Inc.; the Schneider Institute for Health Policy at Brandeis University; physicians and pharmacists of Berkshire County, Mass.; and other leading healthcare organizations in Massachusetts. eRx Network joined the effort in 2008 as an implementation solution to electronically connect prescribers to pharmacies.
Emdeon estimates only approximately 18% of all prescriptions are currently transmitted electronically. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, adoption of ePrescribing can enable improvements in patient safety, quality of care and cost effectiveness. By design, ePrescribing avoids the use of a fax machine, can reduce the need to retype medication and dosage information, helps to eliminate the need for interpretation of prescriber handwriting and potentially reduces the amount of labor required to approve and fill any given prescription.
"Security requirements for an electronic system to prescribe controlled substances are obviously quite extensive, but we have identified ways to make the initial implementation less difficult," said Rick Sage, Emdeon's vice president of clinical services and the manager of Emdeon's participation in the Massachusetts research project. "We are committed to helping achieve widespread electronic prescribing for all prescribed medications, and to providing flexible and cost-effective solutions for our customers so they can fully realize the benefits of ePrescribing."
Emdeon's secure and interoperable network is the largest financial and administrative healthcare information exchange in the nation. Clinical exchange volumes among Emdeon's suite of solutions are increasing with a current annual run rate of 100 million ePrescriptions and 30 million clinical messages (test orders and results) per year. In total, Emdeon currently facilitates over 5 billion healthcare information exchanges each year through a secure and interoperable network that connects 500,000 physicians; 81,000 dentists; 55,000 pharmacies; 5,000 hospitals and 1,200 payers.
Emdeon is a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management solutions, connecting payers, providers and patients in the U.S. healthcare system. Emdeon's product and service offerings integrate and automate key business and administrative functions of its payer and provider customers throughout the patient encounter. Through the use of Emdeon's comprehensive suite of products and services, which are designed to easily integrate with existing technology infrastructures, its customers are able to improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase cash flow and more efficiently manage the complex revenue and payment cycle process