HEALTH

CVS Caremark, HBCBSNJ reaches 5.5 million e-prescriptions

BY Drug Store News Team

The news that CVS Caremark and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey have reached 5.5 million e-prescriptions since 2004 is no doubt a major example of how providers are increasingly communicating electronically to advance patient care. What’s even more impressive, is the number of e-prescriptions jumped 20% in just one year from 2007 to 2008.

Once again, CVS Caremark has proven to be a leader and on the forefront of technology, this time with its proprietary iScribe e-prescribing system.

As the article states, this technology not only translates into a cost-savings for patients but also a safety benefit as the system eliminates handwritten prescriptions and provides the prescriber with easy access to potentially harmful drug interaction information. Furthermore, it is no secret that adherence ? or rather lack thereof ? is a major issue within the industry but with iScribe physicians are alerted when a prescription has been unfilled.

Industry members would be wise to keep their eye on BCBSNJ as, according to CVS Caremark chief medical officer and EVP, Dr. Troyen Brennan, it is an “industry bellwether in using technology to improve safety and compliance for their patients.”

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Television star opens up about Type 1 diabetes in new book

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Television starlet Mary Tyler Moore is opening up about her battle with diabetes in a new memoir.

“Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes” highlights Moore’s 40-year struggle with Type 1 diabetes.

Moore discusses her worsening eyesight, described as “tunnel vision, which makes the world look like a perpetual journey by car through the Swiss Alps.” Moore also mentions that she walks in Manhattan with an aide who warns her about curbs and ramps.

Almost 24 million people in the United States are estimated to have diabetes. The main symptoms include tiredness, thirst, irritability and vision problems.

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Economy, cigarette tax may cause smokers to kick the habit

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. A new survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline found that the April 1 federal price increase on cigarettes and the current economy are big concerns for smokers and will change their current smoking habits.

The survey found that 70% of smokers say that the current price of cigarettes is already too expensive and is one of their main concerns about smoking, second only to health concerns. For survey respondents over 45 years old, the price of cigarettes was the most cited concern. Further, 56% of smokers say the April 1 price increase will prompt them to smoke fewer cigarettes and 72% say the price increase on cigarettes would increase their intention to quit.

Smokers also say the current economy is a big concern and it will prompt them to change their smoking habits — 47% of smokers say they would cut back on cigarettes because of the economy.

“Research shows that smokers are more likely to try to quit when the price of cigarettes goes up,” stated Frank Chaloupka, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and affiliate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. “Given the recent tax hike and the state of the economy, now would be a great time for smokers to re-evaluate how smoking affects their finances and calculate how much they could save by quitting. A typical pack-a-day smoker could be spending approximately $2,000 each year on cigarettes, but no matter how expensive it is to smoke, quitting smoking is a big challenge.”

The federal cigarette tax increased Wednesday by 62 cents to a total of $1.01 per pack, to fund the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that was signed into law earlier this year.

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