February 20, 2003
ROCKVILLE, MD, February 20, 2003 – Giant Food Inc. announced that their Giant Pharmacies will be expanding their electronic prescription service through a partnership with DrFirst, a Rockville based company that provides products and services to the healthcare community. On January 30th, Giant and DrFirst launched a new e-prescription service that will allow physicians to send prescriptions to any Giant pharmacy electronically. In addition, Giant pharmacists will have the ability to electronically request a refill or verify a prescription from a physician.
DrFirst’s e-prescription service is a safe, secure, web-based technology that allows doctors to access patient information, choose a pharmacy, and transmit a prescription with just one click of a button. As prescriptions are written, they are checked for allergy and drug interactions, and insurance formularies are verified. Through DrFirst’s service, doctors and pharmacists are electronically linked to provide efficient and fast prescription and refill services to patients. DrFirst allows doctors to write paperless prescriptions to Giant pharmacists by using a desktop computer, handheld device or even a cell phone. The e-prescribing service also provides a secure medium for the transferal and storage of patient information.
According to John F. Bartos, Jr., Senior Vice President e-Health Products and Services for DrFirst, the e-prescribing application that Giant will be using is called ’Rcopia’. ” This application allows physicians to create a prescription at the point-of-care and send the script electronically through the private and secure NDCHealth Intelligent NetworkTM to a Giant pharmacy where the prescription is filled. Refill requests are sent electronically from the pharmacist to the physician,” said Bartos.
Bartos noted that the electronic link between DrFirst and Giant would result in several tangible benefits to healthcare consumers. “This electronic service will improve patient safety by producing legible prescriptions and Rcopia will prevent medication errors through drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checking,” said Bartos. “This service also offers convenience to the patient. Prescriptions are sent electronically without mistake to the pharmacy and refills are requested automatically from the physician, saving time for the patient,” Bartos added.
Vice President of Pharmacy Operations for Giant Food Inc., Russell B. Fair, R.Ph., emphasized how the electronic link will allow physicians and pharmacists to focus on patient care rather than spending time on the telephone trying to fill prescriptions and refills. “Over 30% of a pharmacist’s workday is spent on the phone receiving and clarifying prescriptions. By 2005, retail pharmacists are expected to fill 4 billion prescriptions,” said Fair. “DrFirst’s hassle-free service will allow our pharmacists to spend more time counseling patients instead of spending time on the phone answering questions and processing prescriptions,” added Fair.
“Today, a significant number of prescriptions written by physicians are never filled, often because patients do not want to wait at a pharmacy while their prescription is filled,” said Walter M. Hoff, chairman and chief executive officer of NDCHealth. “The efficiencies of e-prescribing will help save time and also ensure that the right medications are taken. From its position at the center of healthcare, the NDCHealth Intelligent Network connects healthcare providers and payers for the exchange of secure transaction messages that help improve efficiency and accuracy in healthcare,” continued Hoff.
Giant operates 156 in-store pharmacies and 3 free-standing pharmacies. Giant pioneered the concept of food and pharmacy combination stores in the mid 1960’s and was also the first area pharmacy to offer free computerized patient profiles which guard against potential drug interactions. Giant is a member of the Ahold USA group, owned by Royal Ahold of the Netherlands. Ahold USA currently owns six prominent supermarket companies along the eastern seaboard including The Stop & Shop Supermarket company, headquartered in Boston, MA; Giant Food Inc., based in Landover, MD; Tops Markets LLC, with headquarters in Buffalo, NY; Giant Food Stores LLC, based in Carlisle, PA; BI-LO LLC, headquartered in Mauldin, SC and Bruno’s Supermarkets, Inc., with headquarters in Birmingham, AL. Jointly they operate over 1,600 stores of which 1,220 are supermarkets. Royal Ahold (NYSE: AHO) is a leading food provider in the United States and elsewhere in the world with total consolidated sales of USD 66 billion.
Utilizing the latest advancements in Internet, security, wireless, and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) technology, DrFirst provides a suite of integrated, affordable, intuitive, and easily implemented products and services to the healthcare community. The backbone of DrFirst’s products and services is its Secure Messaging Exchange (SMX) network, which permits secure messaging and transfer of information between users. Through this platform, DrFirst offers a practice management solution that includes automated billing, electronic claims submission and scheduling; a state-of-the-art electronic medical records application; and a complementary suite of integrated products that includes fully integrated web and PDA-based electronic prescription writing, charge capture, and secure e-mail. These comprehensive solutions solve critical communication, business productivity, and clinical needs of physicians, clinics, hospitals, and health systems. DrFirst delivers its products on both an Application Service Provider (ASP) and Distributive Solutions Provider (DSP) basis to provide the maximum flexibility to fulfill the diverse needs of healthcare providers.
NDCHealth (NYSE: NDC) is a leading provider of health information services to pharmacy, hospital, physician, pharmaceutical and payer businesses.