Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Rx for quick meds unveiled

By Tim Bonfield tbonfield@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A large Tristate physician group, a medical records company and a grocery chain announced on Monday a program that allows doctors to electronically send prescription orders straight from the exam room to the pharmacy.

        And the pharmacy promises that the prescriptions will be filled within 30 minutes of receiving the order.

        The “Kroger Promise” program involves Queen City Physicians, a 38-doctor group with eight local offices, 55 Kroger pharmacies in the area, and A4 Health Systems, based in Cary, N.C.

        When patients need medications, Queen City's doctors will use A4's electronic medical record system to electronically fax orders to Kroger pharmacies, which in turn guarantee the orders will be filled within 30 minutes or they will be free.

        “Our physicians have embraced this new technology that makes it possible to send a prescription from the examining room directly to Kroger,” said Pam Coyle-Toerner, president and chief operating officer for Queen City Physicians.

        Growing numbers of doctors have begun using a variety of electronic prescription services instead of traditional hand-written forms. Supporters say such systems can simplify paperwork by checking to see if a drug is covered by the patient's health plan.

        They also can reduce medication errors by eliminating illegible handwritten forms while automatically checking for risks of overdose, allergic reactions and harmful drug interactions.


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