May 2010

eScripts Implementation Pilot Begins: First Step Toward Full Ambulatory Electronic Health Record


CHI is moving forward with a rapid implementation of eScripts, a tool for electronically writing and transmitting prescriptions, in approximately 250 employed physician practices. The implementation of eScripts is the first step in the implementation of CHI’s ambulatory electronic health record (AEHR).

“Two pilot sites in Chattanooga, TN, and Lincoln, NE, just went live the week of May 17,” said Judi Binderman, MD, interim chief medical information and telehealth officer for CHI. “We will use feedback from those practices to fine-tune our plan to roll eScripts out to all practices by the end of September.” About 30 practices that already use an electronic health record will implement eScripts when they move to CHI’s AEHR platform in the next two years.

“The greatest benefit from the implementation of eScripts is patient safety,” said Binderman. “The system does a significant amount of checking for drug interactions, drug allergies and correct dosage. It also saves time. Physicians can also view all of the medications a patient is taking at one time, which helps with medication management. They can instantly see whether the drug they select for a patient is on the formulary set by the patient’s insurance provider, which prevents subsequent phone calls between the physician and the pharmacy and the rewriting of prescriptions. And, physicians can instantly send electronic approvals for refill requests.”

CHI has developed communications and training to help physician practices implement eScripts. Many resources are available on the eScripts page of CHI’s intranet, Inside CHI. Binderman has also been working closely with practice managers to develop solutions for transferring existing patient data to eScripts, and eventually to the full AEHR.

Implementation of eScripts may also help physician practices qualify for incentive payments from Medicare. “Practices that use electronic prescribing for at least 25 Medicare patients a year are eligible for bonus dollars between now and 2012,” said Binderman. “That’s just one more benefit to the implementation of eScripts.” For more information, contact Judi Binderman, judibinderman@catholichealth.net.