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1-in-5 WAG scripts filled electronically in October

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. —Breaking its own record, Walgreens said it filled 4 million prescriptions electronically in October. That represents about 22% of all eligible prescriptions filled at the drug store chain, and a 185% increase compared with October of last year. Walgreens estimated it would fill more than 45 million electronic prescriptions in 2009, compared with 15 million filled in 2008.

Walgreens has been e-prescribing-enabled since 1992. Company officials said the chain, which operates more than 7,000 drug stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, will continue to shift more of its prescriptions into a paperless format with help from financial incentives in the federal stimulus package, which encourage hospitals, doctors and others to adopt electronic health records, a core component of which is e-prescribing.

”With the federal stimulus package providing $19 billion in incentives to adopt electronic health records, doctors will gain easier access to software that makes electronic prescribing possible,” said Don Huonker, Walgreens’ SVP healthcare innovation.

“Continued growth in e-prescribing will help meet the goals of healthcare reform,” Huonker added. “In addition to lowering costs for doctors and pharmacies, electronic prescribing makes it more likely that patients will get their prescriptions filled, benefit from their drug therapy and avoid more expensive medical procedures.”

“E-prescribing also reduces the medication errors and adverse drug events that cost the healthcare system billions of dollars per year,” he noted. “And by eliminating the need to call a doctor’s office to verify a prescription, e-prescribing provides pharmacists more time to focus on drug interactions, the right dosing and patient consultation.”

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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