CMS' 'Meaningful Use 2' will drive pharmaceutical content into electronic health records (EHR) systems, says PDR Network

Drug-information vendor is developing EHR-neutral interfaces to provide its content

Roughly 60% of practicing physicians now interact with an EHR system, and that figure is only going to rise as more federal incentives and penalties drive adoption. With more physicians spending more of their working hours interacting with an EHR system, the desire of pharma marketers to have some presence there (especially for “no see” doctors) is intensifying. But now, as the realities of what is called “meaningful use 2” kick in, EHR systems (and the hospital IT directors that buy them) may be welcoming industry input.

“’Meaningful use 2’ refers to the requirement that clinicians EHR systems demonstrate a rising level of documented patient education,” noted Ed Fotsch, CEO of PDR Network (Montvale, NJ), at the company’s third annual EHR Network meeting (Philadelphia, Apr. 17). “Surveys of our physician clients show that, generally speaking, they’re reluctant to spend time on patient education, and are looking for alternatives that satisfy that requirement without tying up their own resources.”

In preparation for this year’s meeting , PDR Network (which publishes industry-sourced, FDA —approved drug information and related communications), the company surveyed physicians, finding that one of their current problems is the time it takes to access relevant drug information; more than 80% of those surveyed wants this information—and they want it for free. (There are several subscription services, or drug-information databases that can be added to the service offering of an EHR vendor.) Between the drug information the physicians want, the patient education services they are being obligated to provide, and the workflow issues they’re dealing with, appropriate content—even if pharma-sourced—will be welcome.

Fotsch says that the company is addressing this need, in part, with an offering called “PDR Brief” which combines PDR’s independently developed drug information content, with prescribing and reimbursement information from the manufacturer. The Brief is a pop-up window in the EHR system, meant to be available at that point when the physician is evaluating prescribing choices for a patient. The availability of patient-education resources (some of which, under FDA REMS programs are required to be communicated from the manufacturer to the patient) can also be highlighted. The pop-up window is designed to work with many of the EHR systems extant today (there are some 400 EHR vendors, which is a problem all of its own for the healthcare industry).