One of the largest purchasers of healthcare is embarking on an electronic prescribing pilot project involving California physicians.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, will launch the e-prescribing pilot in April to help develop practices and strategies that it hopes to later roll out to its larger physician network.
The project is being co-sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross of California, a subsidiary of WellPoint, not-for-profit Blue Shield of California and Medco Health Solutions.
The pilot is expected to run through early 2010, according to CalPERS.
"Our goal with this project is to accelerate the adoption and use of e-prescribing by the pilot physicians serving our members," Priya Mathur, chairwoman of CalPERS Health Benefits Committee, said in written statement. The ultimate goal is to enhance patient safety and reduce costs, CalPERS said.
For the pilot, Anthem Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California will each work with selected physician groups in the state to identify and reduce barriers to e-prescribing, quantify results and share information from the pilot to support e-prescribing by all physicians. Medco is managing the project and providing technical support.
"We look forward to helping our provider partners improve patient safety through e-prescribing technology while helping them qualify for time-limited incentive payments," said Charles Kennedy, M.D., vice president of health information technology at WellPoint.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the nation, and provides health benefits to 1.3 million retirees, employees and their families.