ePocrates To Make Medicare Part D Formulary Data Available At The Point Of Care

SAN MATEO, Calif., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- To help physicians and pharmacists work with their patients through the implementation of the new Medicare Part D program, Epocrates, Inc. announced today that it will make Medicare Part D formulary information available to its network of nearly 500,000 healthcare professionals in January. All Medicare Part D drug plan formularies will be available on Epocrates free and premium mobile and web-based clinical solutions, which already provide healthcare professionals with access to benefit information for more than 130 insurers in the United States covering more than 110 million lives.

"Medicare is pleased that Epocrates will be providing physicians and other practitioners with Part D formulary information through their free Epocrates Rx(R) software. This service will help these practitioners care for the nearly 41 million Medicare beneficiaries by providing detailed formulary information so they can make confident decisions about their drug prescriptions," said Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The introduction of Medicare Part D, which has doubled the number of plans physicians and pharmacists need to be familiar with, has raised concerns about how healthcare professionals will be able to handle the additional responsibilities while maintaining their current level of patient care and service. A recent survey conducted by Epocrates showed that nearly 60 percent of physicians estimate that time spent on administrative tasks will increase by 20 percent, while nearly 70 percent of pharmacists anticipate that callbacks to physicians will increase by 20 percent.

"It has been a priority for us to work with CMS to provide Medicare Part D formulary information to healthcare professionals in our network," said Kirk Loevner, chairman and chief executive officer of Epocrates. "We have been inundated with requests to deliver information about patients' insurance coverage directly to the exam room where critical prescribing decisions are being made and to the pharmacy where patients' questions are being addressed."

With Epocrates formulary tool, a clinician can quickly check if a drug is covered by a particular health plan, such as Humana and Aetna; identify prior authorization requirements and co-pay levels; and search for generic and lower cost alternatives. This enables physicians to have real-time discussions with patients regarding treatment options prior to prescribing a medication. In addition, pharmacists can consult the formulary guide when dispensing medication if coverage is denied or patients have questions regarding their drug plan. Seventy percent of physicians believe that accessing Medicare Part D formularies via Epocrates software will help them save at least an hour a week and 60 percent of pharmacists estimate they will save two or more hours per week.

"I use Epocrates with nearly every patient I encounter. It is already a huge timesaver for me to be able to look-up my patient's health plan to see if a specific drug is covered. Once Part D is active, I will likely be working with twice as many plans, so it will be even more vital," said John Messer, MD, family practice. "Not to mention, it also saves my patients money because I can select the generic medication."

In several studies, physicians have found that Epocrates products improve patient care and reduce adverse drug events. This will become even more important once the Part D program is active with more than 50 percent of physicians and nearly 70 percent of pharmacists anticipating that there will be an increase in the use of medication among seniors.


The survey was conducted using the Epocrates Honors(R) Panel, the largest healthcare professional market research panel in the United States. Respondents included 604 randomly selected registered physicians across all specialties and pharmacists.

Key findings include: -- The primary concerns for physicians and pharmacists are their inability to address questions from patients/customers regarding drug coverage and additional administrative burdens -- Nearly 90 percent of pharmacists have heard concerns from their elderly customers about the new prescription drug program, compared to about half of the physicians surveyed -- More than 70 percent of physicians and nearly 60 percent of pharmacists believe that the new drug benefit will increase the quality of care for seniors -- 85 percent of physicians and pharmacists feel that CMS and health plans are most responsible for disseminating information about the new prescription drug plan -- More than 50 percent of physicians rate their knowledge of the Medicare Part D program as "fair" or "poor" *Comprehensive survey results available upon request ABOUT EPOCRATES, INC.

San Mateo, CA-based Epocrates is transforming the practice of medicine by providing innovative clinical solutions at the point of care and deploying leading-edge technologies that enable communication. The company has built a clinical network connecting nearly 500,000 healthcare professionals, including one in four U.S. physicians and one in two U.S. medical students, with other healthcare stakeholders. Epocrates' products have shown a positive impact on patient safety, healthcare efficiency and patient satisfaction. Epocrates was recently ranked 257 in the 24th annual Inc.500 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. For more information about Epocrates, please visit www.epocrates.com.

Epocrates, Inc.

CONTACT: Erica Sniad of Epocrates, +1-650-227-6907, or pr@epocrates.com

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