Don't Miss a Beat

Auto Makers Join Forces with Michigan Health Plans and Physicians to Launch Sweeping e-Prescribing Initiative

Southeast Michigan e-Prescribing Initiative to Enroll Thousands of Physicians across Michigan in the Fight to Reduce Medication Errors

February 10, 2005

DETROIT – The nation’s three largest automakers, General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and DaimlerChrysler Corp. (NYSE: DCX), and the International Union, UAW, have joined forces to launch a major quality initiative aimed at addressing medication errors and the subsequent effect on health care quality and costs.

The three companies today announced the Southeast Michigan e-Prescribing Initiative (SEMI), a far-reaching electronic prescribing collaboration with Michigan health plans, electronic prescribing technology providers and pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:MHS). As many as 17,000 physicians will have the opportunity to join the program.

The initiative encourages physicians to write prescriptions on a personal computer or wireless device and send them directly to the pharmacy for filling. Electronic prescribing gives physicians real-time access to important safety and coverage information when making prescribing decisions.

The benefits of e-Prescribing include:
· Reducing potentially harmful drug interactions by alerting physicians of possible risks
· Eliminating illegible physician hand-written prescriptions that can lead to medication mistakes
· Eliminating patient wait time at the pharmacy by furnishing physicians with benefit plan details at the point of prescribing so that changes won’t be needed when the prescription is being filled.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that use of e-Prescribing technology could eliminate as many as two million harmful drug events each year. A Medco study of physicians using e-Prescribing technology found that physicians using the devices increased their generic substitution rates by over 15 percent and their generic dispensing rates by more than 8 percent. According to the Managed Care Institute, every one percent increase in the nation’s generic prescription utilization rate would generate savings of $1.3 billion; generic drugs can cost as much as 70 percent less than brand name medications.

Because electronic prescribing provides substantial benefits in terms of patient safety and cost savings, CMS has indicated that the technology will play a central role in the government’s plan to build a national health care technology system.

As part of the Southeast Michigan initiative, Henry Ford Health System first implemented e-Prescribing in January 2005 through a collaboration with the Henry Ford Medical Group – an 800-member group practice – and its insurance arm, Health Alliance Plan (HAP). With technology already in place for 25 physicians, Henry Ford Medical Group anticipates more than 100 physicians will be utilizing the DrFirst Rcopia e-Prescribing software by the end of March.

The launch at Henry Ford is just the first example of what is planned across Michigan. In addition to HAP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will implement the program with 6,400 physicians in its Blue Preferred Plus product.

RxHub, LLC is providing the technology infrastructure that supports the secure, bi-directional exchange of patient-specific prescribing information between physicians and pharmacy benefit managers and the transmission of the electronic prescriptions to the pharmacy.

Mark Kelley, M.D., executive vice president at Henry Ford and chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Medical Group says that physicians and patients are pleased with e-Prescribing. “Our doctors can access the e-prescribing software through a tablet PC while they are seeing patients. The software is very easy to learn and use. Our patients benefit because e-Prescribing gives our physicians the information they need to make appropriate prescribing decisions based on patient medication history, allergies and insurance coverage. Also, prescriptions can be sent directly to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice, so patients don’t have to carry paper prescriptions to the pharmacy. We are using data and automation to improve a process that directly impacts patient care.”

Physician practices can also benefit from this technology through decreased administrative costs. A 2003 Medco study showed that the implementation of an electronic prescribing system with health plan coverage messaging led to a 42 percent reduction in the number of pharmacy calls to the physicians’ office, with a 30 percent reduction in calls related to prescription illegibility.

Each of the health plans and employers, in consultation with Medco, will develop a secure, HIPAA-compliant (adhering to the legislative rules concerning patient privacy), integrated patient data infrastructure that allows patient prescription and medical data to be checked for potential errors when a medication is prescribed. By providing integrated patient data across medical, pharmacy and diagnostic channels, both ambulatory and institutional clinicians will have access to relevant patient data in a secure, password-protected environment.

About General Motors
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 324,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company’s history. GM’s global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

About Ford Motor Company:
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 325,000 employees worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company, Quality Care and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.

About DaimlerChrysler Corp.
DaimlerChrysler Corporation, also known as the Chrysler Group, is the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based unit of DaimlerChrysler AG. DaimlerChrysler Corp. is involved in the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, financing and sales of cars, minivans, sport-utility vehicles and trucks for customers worldwide. Its brands include Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge and feature some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles including the Dodge Viper, Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chrysler 300C. Chrysler Group operates in more than 100 countries and in 2004, sold 2.7 million vehicles worldwide.

About HAP
Headquartered in Detroit, Mich., Health Alliance Plan is the nonprofit managed care arm of the Henry Ford Health System. HAP serves 530,000 members from 2,800 employer groups. The health plan’s commercial HMO product received Excellent Accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

About Henry Ford Health System
Henry Ford Health System (www.henryford.com), one of the country’s leading health care systems, integrates primary and specialty care with research and education. It includes Henry Ford Hospital and four owned or affiliated hospitals; Health Alliance Plan, a 530,000 member HMO; the 800 physician/scientist Henry Ford Medical Group, 22 ambulatory centers and other health-related services located throughout southeastern Michigan.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit corporation, provides or administers health care benefits to nearly 4.8 million members through a variety of plans: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Preferred, Community Blue and Healthy Blue PPOs, Blue Choice Point of Service, Blue Care Network HMO, and Blue HSAsm plans compatible with health savings accounts. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsm.com.

About Medco
Medco Health Solutions, Inc., a leading pharmacy benefit manager with the nation’s largest mail order pharmacy operations, assists its customers to moderate the cost and enhance the quality of prescription drug benefits provided to members nationwide. Its customers include private- and public-sector employers and healthcare organizations. Medco is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MHS. On the Net: http://www.medco.com.

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this presentation should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

DrFirst also provides leading edge secure messaging platforms for physicians, hospitals and EMR/EHR vendors.

###

Return to News