U.S. healthcare IT leaders form new alliance for
SAN FRANCISCO – Accelerating the adoption of
ePrescribing is the goal of a new healthcare industry initiative – Café
Rx – formed by nine of the nation’s leading healthcare IT solution
The new coalition, whose founding members include Allscripts Healthcare
Solutions, Capgemini, Cisco Systems, HP, Microsoft, the National Council
for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), NDCHealth, RxHub and SureScripts,
was announced in August at the National Council for Prescription Drug
Programs’ (NCPDP) Educational Forum in San Francisco.
ePrescribing – the ability for a physician to electronically submit a
“clean” prescription directly to a pharmacy from the point of care – has
been widely viewed as a critical element in improving the quality of
patient healthcare and reducing medication errors.
In fact, developing standards to facilitate ePrescribing was one of the
key action items in the government’s plan to expedite the adoption of
electronic medical records and build a national electronic health
information infrastructure in the United States. The report was prepared
by David J. Brailer, MD, the National Coordinator for Health Information
“Café Rx will promote and support real-time connectivity between
physicians, payors, pharmacy benefit managers and retail pharmacies
through vendor-neutral platforms and solutions,” noted Donald Gravlin,
vice president, and chief technology officer for Capgemini Health’s
payor practice. “We view ePrescribing as an essential step in the
migration to the comprehensive automation of clinical processes.”
To encourage the adoption of ePrescribing, Café Rx will provide payors
and physicians with successful strategies and best practice models;
offer extensive information on ePrescribing through its Website (www.caferx.org);
launch a program to educate physicians and their office staffs about the
value of ePrescribing; and support lobbying efforts that urge federal
and state governments to incent the adoption of ePrescribing and
electronic medical records.
“We applaud the leadership of Café Rx and its efforts to move the
industry forward in this important arena,” said Janet Marchibroda, CEO
of eHealth Initiative, a non-profit multi-stakeholder organization that
has been leading the charge for the improved quality, safety and
efficiency in healthcare through greater use of information technology.
“Based on the tremendous benefits that ePrescribing delivers to all the
key stakeholders, as learned from our National Electronic Prescribing
report release earlier this spring, it is experiencing increased
acceptance, but we still have a long way to go.”
The adoption of ePrescribing will benefit patients, physicians and
pharmacists by significantly decreasing medication errors, reducing the
incidence of adverse drug reactions, saving physicians and pharmacists
valuable time now spent on non-clinical administrative tasks, and
enabling payers to improve formulary program compliance – collectively
saving millions of dollars while potentially increasing patient and
The bulk of the over 3.7 billion prescriptions issued last year were
still written manually, generating the need for an estimated 150 million
phone calls from pharmacists to physicians’ offices for clarification on
handwriting, dosing and other issues. Up to 40 percent of prescriptions
require reworking at the retail pharmacy before they are dispensed to
the patient, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
Medication errors are currently responsible for an estimated 7,000
deaths per year in the United States, and approximately $77 billion is
spent annually on treatment of adverse drug events.
Emerging support for ePrescribing by large payors is an important part
of the equation. One promising initiative expected to help break down
the barriers to ePrescribing is WellPoint Health System’s Physician
Quality and Technology Initiative (PQTI).
The program includes a $40 million investment in providing physicians
with new technology in the form of handheld devices and computers for
clinical use. “We see ePrescribing as an excellent opportunity to create
a foundation for deployment of information technology solutions in the
clinical environment, while delivering significant value in its own
right,” said Dr. Charles Kennedy, M.D., vice president of clinical
informatics at WellPoint.
Membership in Café Rx is open to all healthcare IT solution providers
that agree to support the group’s guiding principles. The following
organizations are the founding advisors to Café Rx:
• Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, a leading U.S. provider of clinical
software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to
improve healthcare, including electronic prescribing and electronic
• Capgemini, a leading healthcare consultancy in the U.S. and Canada,
provides global professional services consulting, technology and
outsourcing to the healthcare industry.
• Cisco Systems, a worldwide leader in networking technology, provides
networking solutions for the healthcare community that enable both
business and clinical transformation.
• Hewlett-Packard, dedicated to deploying technology and business
solutions, is committed to transforming the health ecosystem through
innovation and collaboration focused on improving individual wellness.
• Microsoft, which offers a comprehensive range of solutions, platforms
and technologies used throughout the health ecosystem.
• National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), an ANSI
accredited Standards Development Organization with over 1400 members
representing all parties interested in electronic standardization within
the pharmacy services sector.
• NDC Health, uniquely positioned in healthcare as the leader in
point-of-care systems, electronic connectivity and information solutions
to pharmacies, hospitals, physicians and payers.
• RxHub, which connects the prescribing industry and provides doctors
and providers with formulary access, patient medication eligibility and
• SureScripts, which completes the electronic highway by connecting
retail pharmacies with physician offices via their technology
applications offering electronic prescribing, is dedicated to improving
the quality, safety and efficiency of the prescribing process.
More information about Café Rx and its guiding principles is available