Supermarket Chain to Launch New Online Prescription System
Giant Food Inc., a supermarket chain based in Landover, Md., plans to launch a new system that allows doctors to write and send prescriptions to Giant pharmacies online via personal computers, cellular phones and other communications devices, the Washington Post reports (McCarthy, Washington Post, 4/9). The OnCallData system, developed by InstantDx, a software company in Gaithersburg, Md., allows doctors and pharmacists to communicate about "potentially harmful drug reactions" or patients' health insurance (Freudenheim, New York Times, 4/9). In addition, OnCallData allows pharmacists to send requests for prescription refills or other information to doctors (Washington Post, 4/9). The 30,000 doctors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., who use physicians' office software developed by NDCHealth Corp., an Atlanta-based company, can use OnCallData (New York Times, 4/9). The system costs doctors $29 to $39 per month, and pharmacy companies pay an undisclosed fee for each prescription received through the system. Six Giant pharmacies in Baltimore and in the Washington, D.C., area can now receive prescription orders through OnCallData; the supermarket chain plans to expand the system to pharmacies in 149 additional stores by the end of May, Russell Fair, Giant's vice president of pharmacy operations, said. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson praised the new system, saying, "A paperless medical system is the best way to reduce medical mistakes, cut stress in overworked pharmacists and save money in health care costs" (Washington Post, 4/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.