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MU Professor Says Implementing New E-Prescribing Network is Worth the Investment for Physicians

July 3, 2008

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,
Greg Alexander, (573) 882-9346,

            COLUMBIA, Mo. – The country's two largest electronic-prescription networks have announced a merger, creating a single, secure network for the exchange of digital health information. SureScripts is merging with RxHub to form the new company, tentatively called SureScripts-RxHub LLC. A University of Missouri professor thinks the network will allow improved communication among providers, patients, and other external entities resulting in safer patient care, reduced errors, and more efficient health services.

            The merger is the latest effort to increase the use of paperless prescriptions. Physicians have been hesitant to adopt the technology, even though the industry is growing. In 2008, 100 million electronic prescriptions are expected to be filed, which represents only 10 percent of the potential market.

            “Merging two large companies that will enable the creation of a large interoperable platform between the two companies for prescriptive purposes is a good idea,” said Greg Alexander, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “Interoperable systems that can communicate with each other are extremely important in long-term care settings because many facilities in these settings are located rurally. Better connections between external providers
(i.e. pharmacies) will enable providers to give better care to these isolated residents.”

            Alexander, who holds doctorates in nursing and health systems, focuses on electronic health care record implementation strategies, patient safety and human factors evaluation in health care settings in his research. He was appointed the first National Library of Medicine Fellow in Informatics from the school of nursing while completing his doctoral studies. Alexander completed his undergraduate work in Biology and Nursing at Missouri State University and received his Master's from the department of Health Management and Informatics at the University of Missouri in 1999. His work includes developing and designing innovative, health system level interventions using sophisticated technologies to deliver care to aging populations to enhance patient safety, clinical work flow and evidence based practice.