Take one, and stop scribbling on pads of paper
Doctors are finally adopting e-prescriptions
By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff | January 10, 2005
After a shaky start, Massachusetts doctors are beginning to embrace a
new way of getting medications to their patients: e-prescribing.
Hospitals and doctors have been turning slowly to technology such as
electronic medical records to make healthcare safer and more
convenient for patients. And e-prescribing, which allows doctors to
send prescriptions electronically over a wireless network to the
pharmacy rather than write them on paper, is attracting interest as a
less expensive first step.
Two companies that sell the technology are making inroads, despite
initial technological glitches and resistance from physicians.
Zix Corp., based in Dallas, has signed contracts with 2,200 doctors,
including 650 at Lahey Clinic in Burlington and 700 at Caritas Christi
Health Care, to use the company's e-prescribing system, executives
said. So far, 473 physicians are active users, writing more than
25,000 electronic prescriptions weekly. Another company, DrFirst Inc.,
of Maryland, has sold its system to about 750 Massachusetts
"This is saving me tons of time," said Dr. Abigail Zavod, a Lahey
physician who practices in Lexington. Zavod writes most of her
prescriptions on a Hewlett-Packard iPAQ, a hand-held computer similar
to a BlackBerry. Two of the state's major insurers, Blue Cross and
Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Tufts Health Plan, have agreed to
transfer their members' medication histories to the Zix database.