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Hospital physician offices now e-prescribing

New Britain [December 18 2007] - With a focus on patient safety, the Hospital of Central Connecticut’s (HCC) four internal medicine physician practices are now sending patients’ prescription orders to retail pharmacies via e-mail, a practice known as e-prescribing.

In December, the practices began using the wireless PocketScript® system, which uses a PDA (personal digital assistant) to place prescription orders.

“PocketScript is defining yet another way new technologies are improving patient safety and increasing business efficiencies,” says project leader Sebastian Vassallo, who manages the hospital’s Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate.

PocketScript is used at Kensington Primary Care (Kensington); Central Connecticut Primary Care (New Britain); and the offices of M.D.s William A. Petit Jr. and Michael Radin (Plainville). The HCC project is funded through a renewable grant from Aetna.

Internist Lawrence Koch, M.D., based at Central Connecticut Primary Care, sees firsthand the e-prescribing benefits to patients, physicians, and pharmacists. “E-prescribing makes it much safer for the patient since there’s less likelihood of medication error due to illegible handwriting, or a wrong interpretation of what’s written. PocketScript also decreases chances of a drug interaction and wrong dose. Patients like it since it’s easier to get a prescription they don’t have to drop it off at a pharmacy, and it can’t get lost.”

PocketScript, also accessible by the practices via a secure Internet program, flags possible medication allergies and interactions; lists the patient’s insurance plan’s formulary medications, including generic drugs; and tracks medication refill history. For refills, the patient contacts the pharmacy. Patients prescribed controlled substances receive prescriptions on paper, per federal law.

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced a bill to Congress that would offer Medicare incentives for physicians using e-prescribing. In November, Steven D. Hanks, M.D., MMM, FACP, senior vice president, medical affairs, and chief medical officer for The Hospital of Central Connecticut, wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the Nov. 29 Wall Street Journal supporting e-prescribing.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, ext. 6507

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779