|CLEVELAND -- University Primary & Specialty Care Practice (UPCP), the 300-physician community based practice of University Hospitals Health System (UHHS), and Ohio KePRO have received a $993,000 grant from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to study the technical standards and clinical impact of electronic prescribing of medications.
This will be one of only five federally funded initiatives on this topic nationwide.
The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) prompted the urgent need for such a study. The law calls for the creation and testing of a set of rules that apply to the electronic transmission of prescriptions and prescription-related information for drugs and patients. UPCP was an early adopter of an e-prescribing solution, InstantDx, in 2004. Only 10% of physicians nationwide utilize this technology.
"We are one of the largest physician groups in the country to implement this application of e-prescribing," says Michael Nochomovitz, MD, President and Chief Medical Officer of UPCP and University Hospitals Management Services Organization, both subsidiaries of University Hospitals Health System. "We hold the view that the new generation of electronic prescription services improves the quality of patient care, advances prescription safety, helps to control costs and provides unique elements of patient convenience."
A consortium of organizations collaborated with Ohio KePRO, the state's Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), to design the study that examines e- prescribing standards and their impact on quality, safety, prescription drug costs and patient outcomes. Ohio KePRO is already under contract with CMS to improve the quality of healthcare provided in Ohio hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and physician practices.
The study is scheduled to begin immediately, and be completed by the end of this year.
KePRO Executive Medical Director, Alice Stollenwerk Petrulis, MD, FACP, noted an increase in the use of technology in healthcare and predicts that provider interest will surge in the next few years. "E-prescribing is one of several healthcare strategies employing technology to not only achieve efficiencies for both providers and patients but also ensure the right care for the right patient, every time," says Dr. Petrulis. "Ohio KePRO is honored to partner with UPCP in this study to test standards and validate outcomes for safeguards that will ensure quality care."
Federal funding for this initiative exemplifies CMS' vision to improve healthcare as part of its Quality Improvement Roadmap, which promotes the use of technology and other means to ensure care that is safe, effective, efficient, patient-centered, timely and equitable.
Donald P. Barich, MD, chairman of Professional Affairs for UPCP and principal investigator for the study, says UPCP fully implemented the electronic prescription system in 2005.
"UPCP's network of multi-specialty physicians provides the ideal prototype for the evaluation of e-prescribing methodology which could be applied to community physicians nationwide," says Dr. Barich.
The study has four objectives:
1) Test e-prescribing standards in community-based physician practice
2) Assess the exchange of information between e-prescribing and other
components of the industry
3) Measure the impact of e-prescribing on patient safety and drug cost
4) Build a database that will help formulate e-prescribing rules for
recommendation to the U.S. Congress in April 2007.
Ohio KePRO, Ohio's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, is committed to continuous quality improvement in healthcare through the provision of innovative products and services for healthcare providers and Ohio's 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries. Ohio KePRO is a member of the Patient Safety Discussion Forum and Ohioans First, a collaborative effort among thirteen Ohio organizations dedicated to improving patient safety in Ohio. Visit Ohio KePRO's Web site at www.ohiokepro.com for more information. Media inquiries can also be submitted online at www.ohiokepro.com/media.asp/.
University Hospitals Health System is celebrating 140 years of caring for Cleveland. Its 947-bed, tertiary medical center, University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC), is an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University (Case). Together, they form the largest center for biomedical research in the State of Ohio. The System provides the major clinical base for translational researchers at the Case Research Institute, a partnership between UHC and Case School of Medicine, as well as a broad and well-characterized patient population for clinical trials involving the most advanced treatments. Included in UHC are Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, among the nation's best children's hospitals; Ireland Cancer Center, designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center (the nation's highest designation); and MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women.
Committed to advanced care and advanced caring, University Hospitals Health System offers the region's largest network of primary care physicians, along with outpatient centers and hospitals. The System also includes a network of specialty care physicians, skilled nursing, elder health, rehabilitation and home care services, managed care and insurance programs. For more information, go to www.uhhs.com.