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Henry Ford Health System Expands e-Prescribing Program with DrFirst After Successful Pilot

March 3, 2006

Rockville, MD, March 3, 2006 – Henry Ford Medical Group and Health Alliance Plan recently announced that one year after launching a pilot program utilizing the DrFirst Rcopia electronic prescription management system, more than 500,000 prescriptions have been transmitted electronically by the medical group. The success of the original 60 physician pilot led to a Henry Ford Medical Group system-wide commitment to make electronic prescribing through DrFirst Rcopia the standard of care for all primary care and medical specialists by the end of 2006. Currently, more than 300 primary care physicians in 24 Henry Ford medical centers have replaced their prescription pads with the electronic system.

“The partnership established between Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Medical Group, and DrFirst is truly unique,” said G. Cameron Deemer, SVP and General Manager of DrFirst. “These two Michigan thought-leaders approached electronic prescribing totally committed to developing and establishing this technology in their state.”

DrFirst was selected to provide the eprescribing application for this initiative after a review of Rcopia’s industry-leading capabilities and the company’s track record of success, but even Rcopia’s rich enterprise-focused feature set was challenged by this project. “Implementing electronic prescribing in a technologically advanced, high volume health system like Henry Ford is qualitatively different from the traditional eprescribing programs in place today,” said Deemer.

“We benefited tremendously from the close working relationship we established with the physicians and HIT staff at Henry Ford Medical Group and HAP. With their input, we were able to develop sophisticated workflow features and other functionality specifically designed to meet the operational and clinical needs of a major health system.”

The program’s original goals were to improve patient safety by avoiding potential complications due to adverse drug events, to pave the way to better formulary compliance and to reduce costs by increasing the use of generics rather than brand name medications.
“We at Henry Ford want to provide the most cost-effective and safest care for our patients,” says Mark Kelley, M.D., executive vice president at Henry Ford and chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Medical Group. “With this electronic system, we can instantly review the patients’ medication history and allergies. When we prescribe medications, the system can warn us of any adverse reactions and also recommend less expensive alternatives. This ‘smart system’ saves time for the doctor and patient, prevents complications, and saves money for the patient.”

Rcopia automatically alerts physicians to potentially dangerous drug/drug and drug/allergy interactions as they prescribe. During the pilot program, more than 80,000 prescriptions were changed or cancelled due to drug/drug interaction messages, and providers were alerted to 6,500 potential allergic reactions.
The pilot also demonstrated that Rcopia use had a strong positive impact on formulary compliance. More than 50,000 prescriptions were changed or cancelled due to formulary alerts, which contributed to a 7.3 percent improvement to the Henry Ford Medical Group’s generic use rate. This improved generic use rate would translate into an estimated $3.1 million in pharmacy cost savings over one year.

“In virtually every way health care quality and costs can be measured, the benefits of e-prescribing are compelling,” said Francine Parker, HAP president and CEO. “e-Prescribing creates a seamless electronic path from the doctor, to the pharmacist, to the patient. We at HAP are proud to be involved as a catalyst and pacesetter in a collaborative program that already is proving its worth to members and patients, providers and employers.”

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System (, 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 other hospitals; the 900-member Henry Ford Medical Group, 24 ambulatory centers and other health-related services located throughout southeastern Michigan.

About Health Alliance Plan

Headquartered in Detroit, Mich., Health Alliance Plan ( is the nonprofit managed care arm of the Henry Ford Health System. HAP serves more than 577,000 members. The National Committee for Quality Assurance awarded HAP’s commercial HMO its highest status, Excellent Accreditation, and Full Accreditation for Alliance Health and Life Insurance Company PPO products.

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

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