Emdeon Submits Comments to DEA on Interim Final Rule
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Emdeon Inc. (NYSE: EM), a leading provider of healthcare revenue and payment cycle management solutions, today submitted formal comments to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in response to the agency's request for comments on the Interim Final Rule enabling electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) of controlled substances. Emdeon's comments reiterate its support for the proposed security standards and recommend the DEA consider interim solutions to permit implementation as soon as possible after the Final Rule becomes effective on June 1, 2010.
As the only ePrescribing network with market-based experience, Emdeon through its eRx Network is already demonstrating the achievability of ePrescribing of controlled substances and its potential impact on healthcare. Emdeon is participating in a multi-year research project with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) for ePrescribing of controlled substances. The project began in 2007 and Emdeon believes the lessons learned can assist in developing implementation guidelines for the Final Rule within existing workflows, standards, certifications and technology changes.
"ePrescribing in general, and specifically ePrescribing of controlled substances, can bring several benefits to physicians, pharmacists, patients and the health system as a whole," said George Lazenby, chief executive officer of Emdeon. "Emdeon wants to do everything we can to support nationwide implementation of ePrescribing of controlled substances as soon as possible."
ePrescribing of controlled substances is expected to help overcome the last major barrier preventing certain physicians from ePrescribing as they will no longer have to maintain both paper and electronic workflows. Emdeon believes another benefit of ePrescribing of controlled substances to pharmacies, hospitals and practitioners will be the added level of security for controlled substance prescriptions that come with the new DEA regulations.
Emdeon's comments, which are both supportive and constructive, focus on the provisions that require a secure transmission of electronic prescriptions, including provisions relating to digital signature indicators and digital signatures; signing and transmitting prescriptions; content alteration and two-factor authentication. Emdeon's comments note that it believes the industry will take a significant amount of time to adopt and implement formal standards that address all parts of the Final Rule and suggests the DEA consider interim guidelines to support adoption variances. Emdeon believes such variances would permit quicker adoption while allowing the industry sufficient time to develop and implement long-term infrastructure to meet the minimum requirements of the Interim Final Rule.
"Security and data integrity are the most important factors driving the future success of ePrescribing of controlled substances," said Rick Sage, Emdeon's vice president of clinical services and the manager of Emdeon's participation in the MDPH research project. "Working in conjunction with our partners in the MDPH project, we successfully implemented a workable solution for electronic data transmission security. While the Interim Final Rule mandates some specific requirements that differ from the MDPH project, there are certainly enough similarities that will enable Emdeon to readily assist our partners in implementing and complying with the Final Rule."
Emdeon estimates only approximately 18% of all prescriptions are currently transmitted electronically. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, adoption of ePrescribing can enable improvements in patient safety, quality of care and cost effectiveness. ePrescribing can reduce the need to retype medication and dosage information, helps to eliminate the need for interpretation of prescriber handwriting and potentially reduces the amount of labor required to approve and fill any given prescription.
Emdeon's secure and interoperable network is the largest financial and administrative healthcare information exchange in the nation. Clinical exchange volumes among Emdeon's suite of solutions are increasing with a current annual run rate of 100 million ePrescriptions and 30 million clinical messages per year. In total, Emdeon currently facilitates over 5 billion healthcare information exchanges each year through its network which reaches approximately 500,000 physicians, 81,000 dentists, 55,000 pharmacies, 5,000 hospitals and 1,200 payers.
Emdeon is a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management solutions, connecting payers, providers and patients in the U.S. healthcare system. Emdeon's product and service offerings integrate and automate key business and administrative functions of its payer and provider customers throughout the patient encounter. Through the use of Emdeon's comprehensive suite of products and services, which are designed to easily integrate with existing technology infrastructures, its customers are able to improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase cash flow and more efficiently manage the complex revenue and payment cycle process. For more information, visit www.emdeon.com.
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