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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Shares Lessons Learned

CONTACT: Susan Leahy
(617) 246-4823
Susan.Leahy-Schuh@bcbsma.com

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Conference invites BCBSMA to share insight as industry leader and early advocate of e-Prescribing

BOSTON — October 07, 2008 — As part of an ongoing effort to educate health care professionals about the use of e-prescribing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) today appeared before health care professionals from across the nation to present a comprehensive analysis of initiatives, results and lessons learned from their ongoing e-Prescribing program.

At an e-Prescribing Conference hosted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Steve Fox, Vice President of Provider Network Management at BCBSMA, presented a summary of the Massachusetts eRx Collaborative program structure and results, BCBSMA's decision to include e-Prescribing as part of its comprehensive eHealth strategy and explained the lessons the company has learned from its e-Prescribing program.

"Intuitive technology, training, and ongoing support are critical to ensure providers use the system in daily practice,: he said. "Free educational events such as this conference are a great way to promote the benefits of e-Prescribing - benefits that are seen by patients, providers, health plans, and pharmacies.:

Yet, Fox said, when BCBSMA and other collaborators first started to reach out to stakeholders four years ago to share the benefits of e-Prescribing, they learned that curiosity wasn't enough to fill a room. "At first, no one showed up. We realized we skipped a step—we needed to collaborate with vendors who could go directly to the physicians and their staff and offer a one-on-one overview of the tool. The result has been incredible—now these forums have wait lists, as we've seen from today's conference.:

The success over the past few years can be seen in the numbers. In 2004, BCBSMA awarded $5.7M in incentive dollars to providers through its PCP e-Technology incentive program. In 2007, the company awarded over $25M in incentives for e-Technology adoption through the same program.

The eRx Collaborative has also released the following statistics:

  • Researchers predict that these eRx resulted in the prevention of approximately 724 potential adverse drug events
  • The cost savings related to avoiding these potential ADEs is estimated to be $630,000 in health care utilization
  • 71% of eRx Collaborative prescribers say e-prescribing saves time for office staff with the majority saving 1-2 hours each day
  • 81% of eRx Collaborative prescribers would recommend e-prescribing to a colleague
  • In 2006, BCBSMA e-prescribers saved 5% on drug costs relative to BCBSMA prescribers not using technology
  • BCBSMA members saved approximately $800,000 in co-payments on their prescriptions

The biggest obstacle for physicians, Fox said, has been funding the technology. The eRx Collaborative, of which BCBSMA is a founding member, subsidizes the cost of the technology to help physicians acquire the tool. In addition, BCBSMA has an incentive program to encourage providers to obtain and use the technology.

"New technology like e-Prescribing will make the coordination of a member's network more efficient for health care professionals,: said Fox. "There are always issues that need to be worked out, but the results have demonstrated that e-Prescribing is one of the many initiatives that will improve both affordability and quality of health care.:

For more information visit http://quality.bluecrossma.com.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( http://www.bluecrossma.com ) was founded more than 70 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

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