New Products - December

December 31, 2002

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New Technology Tool Assists with Prescribing

Providence Health Plans members in Oregon are benefiting from a technology tool that puts information about their prescription coverage right at their doctor's fingertips.

The ePocrates(R) handheld technology tool includes clinical information as well as relative co-pays for all prescriptions covered by Providence. Helen Noonan-Harnsberger, regional director of pharmacy for Providence Health Plans, says providing physicians with this information is helping them talk to patients about medication alternatives. "Rather than finding out at the pharmacy that a particular prescription is not covered by our health plan, members receive information in their doctor's office and even discuss other alternatives at that time," says Noonan-Harnsberger. The device has been in Providence physician's offices for nearly three months.

The Providence formularies are included in ePocrates Rx and ePocrates Rx Pro(TM). ePocrates Rx is a free handheld drug reference database, updated weekly, designed for handheld devices using the Palm OS platform (Windows CE not supported at this time). Physicians using ePocrates Rx can quickly check their handheld devices for information regarding adult and pediatric dosing, drug interactions, and adverse reactions, formulary, pricing and packaging information. They can also get weekly alerts from the CDC, FDA MedWatch, and Institute for Safe Medication Practices. The Providence formularies are also incorporated into ePocrates Rx Pro, a premium version of ePocrates Rx that includes information on over 400 alternative medicines, an infectious disease application, clinical tables and guidelines, and a medical calculator with complex medical formulas and calculations.

A study conducted last year at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, showed that physicians using ePocrates Rx can potentially avoid one to two adverse events per week. The study also showed that the ePocrates Rx handheld electronic drug reference guide saved time for physicians and improved the physician-patient relationship.

For further information please contact:

Lydia Green, RPh, of ePocrates, Inc., +1-650-227-1703, or; or Gary Walker of Providence Health Plans,
+1-503-215-7567, or