Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Saving Lives through Technology

On behalf of FasterCures, I attended a Capitol Hill news briefing in support of the bipartisan legislation Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007 introduced by Senate Finance Committee Members John Kerry (D-Mass.), John Ensing (R-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), and endorsed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). The E-MEDS Act of 2007 would require physicians to use electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) in Medicare. The news briefing “Saving Lives, Saving Money: Modernizing Healthcare through Electronic Prescribing,” discussed the steps the Federal government can take to stimulate physician adopting of e-prescribing, and the potential it has to improving patient care while generating significant savings for the Federal government.

The E-MEDS Act of 2007, simply put, would save lives. Something we at FasterCures know a lot about. At FasterCures our mission is to save lives by saving time. Last year the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that all physicians begin using e-prescribing by 2010 to help reduce the estimated 1.5 million preventable medication errors that occur in the United States annually. Of the 1.5 million errors, IOM studies show that over a half million of those errors occur among the Medicare population. And each year, roughly 7,000 people die from medications errors. However, less than one in ten physicians have adopted e-prescribing not because of clinical concerns, but because they do not view it as a priority. The E-MEDS Act of 2007 estimates that requiring e-prescribing in Medicare could prevent medication errors and save the Federal government billions over the next decade, even after providing physicians funds for equipment, training, and technical support.

Patient safety is an important issue and a priority among patients, providers, insurers, business, and government. E-prescribing is a system that enables prescribing clinicians to deliver prescriptions computer immediately from the point of care directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. It’s an efficient and accurate prescription delivery system that improves patient safety through warnings to the prescribing clinician about adverse drug interactions, allergies, and previous medication history. The technology already exist for launching a e-prescribing that will help modernize the nations healthcare system, while eliminating medical errors, injuries, hospitalizations, and even death. The E-MEDS Act of 2007 runs parallel to the work we are doing at FasterCures…saving lives…by saving time.

Angelo Bouselli, Communications Manager, FasterCures

Angelo Bouselli joined FasterCures as the Communications Manager in April 2007. Angelo has almost ten years of marketing and communications experience in the non-profit arena. Prior to joining FasterCures, he was the Manager of Marketing and Communications at the American Society for Microbiology for the American Academy of Microbiology. He also worked in marketing and business development at The Brookings Institution for the Center for Public Policy Education. Upon moving to Washington, DC in 1998, Angelo began his career in nonprofits working for the National Hydropower Association and Steven Winter Associates. Angelo is a graduate of the University of Maryland.