PHARMACY

Prescribers continue to show preference for paper prescription pads despite e-prescribing advances, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. — Despite all the promises of e-prescribing, in the land of the newfangled, the old-fashioned still reigns supreme, according to a new study.

The study, by point-of-prescription advertising company MediScripts, found that handwritten prescriptions continued to outpace e-prescribing by more than 60% in 2012. The company said the high volume of MediScripts prescription pad use demonstrated continued physician preference for pen and paper, but use of electronic medical record software has shown increased uptake.

"More than 50% of U.S.-based physicians utilize e-prescribing technology, yet data show that among physicians, a majority also are writing prescriptions on a pad," MediScripts CEO Erez Lapsker said. "Prescribers are considering e-prescribing systems, which are rapidly adapting to meet their needs, but until physicians gain comfort with the technology, many will continue to depend on time-trusted, easy-to-use pen and paper."

The company noted that e-prescribing is an important development, but e-prescribing modules are not functionally perfected and don’t offer the ability to prescribe all medications. Prescribers, it said, need to prioritize their time, and prescription pads allow them to quickly write a prescription and dosage without having to fuss with complicated computer software.

 

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NCPA supports Kentucky Senate bill for transparency of MAC pricing

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday applauded the Kentucky Senate for voting to pass S.B. 107, a bill that will provide transparency regarding how pharmacy reimbursements are determined for multiple source generic drugs, and establish an appeals process when a dispute arises over those payment levels. 

“Pharmacists made the business case in presenting their argument to the Senate for transparency in how MAC prices are set," commented Robert McFalls, executive director of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association. "Now, we will turn our efforts to the House, which also is very supportive of issues affecting community pharmacies, to get this legislation passed and enacted as quickly as possible." 

“As we stated in our letter to the Kentucky Senate before it approved this common-sense reform, the MAC process is analogous to a carpenter contracting to build a house for a customer without knowing how much they will be paid, how much their materials will ultimately cost, or how or when those costs will change," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Obviously that’s no way to run a business, but that’s the system PBMs force upon pharmacies, and that must change.”

NCPA urged the Kentucky House to pass similar legislation that NCPA has supported in previous legislative sessions.

Kentucky’s 507 independent community pharmacies employ approximately 5,300 people, and are most affected by the current MAC process, NCPA noted. "These small business health care providers receive 90% of their revenue from prescription drugs, and 80% of that mix is generic, most of which are subject to the MAC lists," the association stated. 

S.B. 107 would create a set of standards with relation to categorizations and formularies for how PBMs craft their MAC lists, require more frequent updates, and streamline the process for pharmacy reimbursement appeals.

 

 

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MinuteClinic signs clinical affiliation with North Shore-LIJ Health System

BY Jason Owen

GREAT NECK, N.Y. — MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS Caremark and North Shore-LIJ Health System (North Shore-LIJ), one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, have signed a clinical collaboration to enhance access to high-quality healthcare services in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

Under the agreement, North Shore-LIJ physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics open seven days a week inside two CVS/pharmacy stores in Bellport and Syosset, Long Island and one on Staten Island (Hylan Boulevard). The agreement also includes plans for future clinics in the region as part of a national expansion that includes 150 new clinics in 2013 to reach a total of 1,500 clinics in the U.S. by 2017.

In addition, MinuteClinic and North Shore-LIJ will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offer.

North Shore-LIJ facilities and their affiliated physicians will accept patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic services. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has an affiliation with North Shore-LIJ, which includes 16 hospitals, a network of nearly 400 outpatient physician practices and more than 9,400 affiliated physicians throughout New York City and Long Island.

"North Shore-LIJ’s national reputation for clinical quality and excellence in adhering to best practices were important factors in the decision to affiliate with them," said Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "We look forward to having their physicians collaborate with MinuteClinic’s nurse practitioners to provide quality oversight, teaching and backup so MinuteClinic can provide the best care at the lowest overall cost to New York residents."

MinuteClinic medical clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide treatment for acute illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health condition monitoring.

"This is North Shore-LIJ’s first clinical affiliation with a retail pharmacy for walk-in medical services," said Jeremy Boal, SVP and chief medical officer at North Shore-LIJ. "We are confident that this agreement will be mutually beneficial to MinuteClinic, North Shore-LIJ and its physicians, and more importantly, provide local residents with another reliable source of health care."

MinuteClinic and North Shore-LIJ will begin to work toward fully integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other North Shore-LIJ facilities and physicians. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

MinuteClinic practitioners specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses, such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and joint sprains are treated, and such common vaccinations as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis and hepatitis A and B are available at most locations. Walk-in camp, sports, college, DOT and other administrative physicals are available daily. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


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