Malpractice insurer endorses system for electronic prescribing

The Doctors’ Company (TDC), the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, has announced a program to provide a financial incentive to physicians who adopt the iScribe system, a mobile, handheld, wireless, electronic prescribing technology.

TDC customers will receive a discount on their medical malpractice insurance premium after using iScribe’s electronic prescribing systems for one year. The system is manufactured by iScribe, based in San Mateo, CA.

"We believe this partnership can help medical practitioners reduce medication prescription errors," says Richard Anderson, MD, chairman of the TDC board of governors. "We believe their system will have a profound impact on the reduction of medication errors by introducing greater information, efficiency, and accuracy into the process of prescribing drugs at the point of care. We feel so strongly about the benefits of the iScribe system that we have contacted other medical malpractice insurers to alert them to this technology and encourage them to implement similar discount programs with the iScribe system."

TDC initially will offer the iScribe system to its highest-prescribing physicians. Eventually, all TDC member-physicians who choose to participate will receive the system. Under the program, iScribe will provide its electronic prescribing systems free of charge to these physicians, including delivery and installation of the iScribe handheld device, a wireless printer, a radio frequency network for larger practices, and unlimited toll-free customer support. The first installations will begin in the third quarter of 2000.

David Levison, president and chief executive officer of iScribe, notes that a study conducted by the Physicians Insurers Association of America (PIAA) identified prescription medications as the second most frequent and second most expensive procedure in claims against physicians insured by PIAA-member companies. Of medication error claims, 42.4% involved significant permanent injury, and 21.1% resulted in death.

Doctors who use iScribe’s systems can write accurate legible prescriptions with just a few taps on the handheld device. The system checks for interactions with other drugs that the patient is taking and checks that the drug is covered by the patient’s insurance plan before the prescription in written. The system then prints out an accurate, legible prescription that patients can take with them to the pharmacy.

TDC is the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, with 18,000 policyholders in all 50 states.