Information technology vendors Allscripts Healthcare Solutions and Zix Corp. will be the key providers of electronic prescribing software for a $40 million effort by payer WellPoint Health Networks to induce nearly 19,000 doctors to add computers to their practice lives.
WellPoint, Thousand Oaks, Calif., announced late last month that it had picked the two e-Rx vendors on the recommendation of the Healthcare and Life Sciences Group of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp., which is serving as the technology consultant to WellPoint on the IT project.
In January, WellPoint announced an outline of the offer, which is being extended to a select group of about 19,000 high-prescribing physicians in California, Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Woodrow Myers, M.D., executive vice president of the healthcare quality assurance division and chief medical officer at WellPoint, said the payer would provide the physicians with two choices, depending on their familiarity with information technology.
More tech-savvy physicians can opt for a "prescription improvement package" that includes a personal digital assistant, a wireless access point and a year's free subscription to a prescription software program. Physicians will have their choice of using either a script-writing system from Allscripts, Libertyville, Ill., or from Zix, Dallas.
As an alternative to the PDA-based setup, WellPoint is offering physicians with basic IT needs what it calls a "paperwork reduction package" consisting of a free Dell desktop personal computer and an Internet connection.