Washington Blue Cross Offers Prescription Drug Formulary Information in New Program for Handheld Computers
Washington state's Premera Blue Cross Monday announced plans to offer information about its prescription drug formulary in a new handheld computer program to Premera doctors and members, the Seattle Times reports. The program will allow doctors and members to use a version of the ePocrates Rx pharmaceutical reference guide to determine whether a prescription drug appears on the formulary and compare the prices of alternative treatments. In addition, the program will allow doctors to "check for drug interactions for up to 30 drugs simultaneously." Doctors and patients can download the program at no cost on the Premera Web site for use on handheld computers compatible with the Palm OS system (Ostrom, Seattle Times, 4/9). According to John Castiglia, chief medical officer of Premera, the health plan is one of the first in the nation to offer prescription drug formulary information for use on handheld computers. Many health plans nationwide only offer printed formulary information (Premera release, 4/8). Premera spokesperson Scott Forslund said, "We did this to save time and hassle for doctors and to foster more informed choices. We also believe this clearly has the potential to reduce our members' out-of-pocket costs" (Seattle Times, 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.