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Former SureScripts chief joins Prematics

BY DSN STAFF

BETHESDA, Md. —The election last month of Kevin Hutchinson to head operations at the physician technology provider Prematics brings the former chief of SureScripts and electronic prescribing pioneer full circle.

Hutchinson, who guided SureScripts from its inception in 2002 as a pharmacy-sanctioned, e-prescribing platform provider until his retirement as its chief executive officer, joined Prematics Feb. 12 as its chief executive officer. In that role, he can now turn his considerable energies to pushing for widespread adoption of e-prescribing on the physician side.

To date, that has proven a far tougher arena. But Prematics chairman Jim Bradley expressed confidence that Hutchinson is up to the task, calling him “a recognized expert and leader in healthcare information technology.”

The two leaders will oversee the planned rollout by Prematics of its ScriptTone e-prescribing service for physicians, and its clinical information technology services for doctors.

“Kevin is an industry-renowned champion of health information technology, having spearheaded the development and successful growth of SureScripts, operators of the nationwide Pharmacy Health Information Exchange,” Bradley said. “I’m excited to work side-by-side with Kevin as we take on this new challenge to further the adoption and utilization of electronic prescribing for physician practices.”

In joining Prematics, Hutchinson essentially is attacking the nationwide challenge of e-prescribing from the other end. After leading the successful charge to get most chain pharmacies in the United States to adopt e-prescribing technology, the former SureScripts chief executive officer is joining the physician side in the technological race to complete the imperfect electronic links between pharmacists and physicians.

Put another way, in the midst of the healthcare system’s halting adoption of e-prescribing and health information technology, Hutchinson is migrating from one end of the end-to-end solution strategy—that of pharmacists—to the physician side, where adoption has been far more sluggish.

Ironically, Hutchinson’s selection as Prematics’ chief executive officer also pairs him with a former rival in the fledgling market for electronic prescribing solutions. Bradley, the company’s chairman, is the founding chief executive officer of RxHub, the e-prescribing platform provider launched by the pharmacy benefit management industry shortly after the creation of SureScripts by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Prematics is basing its approach on providing doctors with “an elegant easy-to-use interface” that will allow them to link up electronically with pharmacies, while providing them with “the critical patient information they need at the point-of-care to prescribe the most clinically appropriate and cost-effective prescriptions,” in the company’s words.

Hutchinson, for his part, was upbeat about his new role. “Now that the critical infrastructure is in place, Prematics is in a great position to take advantage of the strong momentum to transform the way in which prescriptions are written today,” he said. “This is what physicians are looking for when they consider automating the exchange of clinical information and transactions like electronic prescribing.”

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Sturken to celebrate his fifth year at Spartan by ringing NASDAQ bell

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores’ chairman and chief executive officer Craig Sturken is slated to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on March 3 in celebration of his fifth anniversary leading Spartan, the company announced Thursday.

 “It is an honor to ring the opening NASDAQ bell in celebration of our fifth successful year since transforming into a consumer-centric organization and refocusing our business on our core distribution and retail operations,” Sturken stated. “We have been in the grocery business for more than 90 years and this is our eighth year as a public company, which is marked by our ability to develop and execute successful business strategies in a highly competitive market.”

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Unilever to reorganize company structure

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON Unilever, whose brands include Axe, Sunsilk and Dove, has announced that it is restructuring the company and combining its home and personal care segment and food segment into a single category structure.

Ralph Kugler, president of home and personal care, will step down in May at the Annual General Meetings after 29 years of service. The roles of president of home and personal care and president of foods will be merged under the leadership of Vindi Banga, currently president of foods.

To reflect the company’s focus on growth in developing markets, Central and Eastern Europe will be managed within an enlarged region comprised of Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. Western Europe will become a standalone region.

In other moves, Kees van der Graaf will retire in May from the Unilever board and from his role as president of Europe after a 32-year career with Unilever.

Harish Manwani, currently president of Asia/Africa, will lead the new expanded region. Doug Baillie will serve as president of Western Europe, having previously served as chief executive officer of Hindustan Unilever.

“These measures build naturally on the changes of recent years and give us an organizational structure even better placed to advance our growth agenda. At the same time, I want to express my deep appreciation to Kees and Ralph for the significant contribution they have made over long and distinguished years,” stated Patrick Cescau, group chief executive.

In addition, James Lawrence, currently chief financial officer, will be proposed in May for election as an executive director of Unilever. This change will mean that the Unilever board will be comprised of two executive directors and 11 non-executives.

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