A handful of products clearly and affordably reduce the costs and medical errors associated with physician drug prescribing, according to an independent analysis commissioned by the California HealthCare Foundation, an Oakland, Calif.-based philanthropy. The products -- all of which use handheld devices called personal digital assistants -- offer electronic prescribing, computerized drug references, integration of drug references with formularies and/or the ability to integrate electronic prescribing with information from electronic medical records. "In light of significant cost and complexity barriers to adopting some of the e-prescribing technology solutions, we concluded that four standalone prescribing products on the market favorably impact prescribing efficiency, cost and quality, while being affordable and easily integrated into a physician's practice," said Melissa Buckley, author of the report.
The products are sold by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Libertyville, Ill.; ePocrates, San Mateo, Calif.; PocketScript, Mason, Ohio; and Wellinx, St. Louis. The study analyzed 19 companies offering a range of basic to comprehensive e-prescribing products, with prices from free to $200,000. Obtain the report at the foundation's Web site www.chcf.org. -- John Morrissey