At a time when about the only consistent services patients can expect from their health-care providers are a cold stethoscope and an illegibly written prescription, IBM and eMD.com are looking to the Internet for a cure. The companies plan to create a Web-based medication-management system that uses a Web-enabled device to connect physicians and other medical professionals to critical patient data.
IBM technology has been chosen by eMD.com, a subsidiary of BioShield Technologies Inc., to connect the disparate computing systems of doctors' offices around the world with eMD.com's Web-based medication-management application. The eMD.com Point of Care Medication Management Solution application gives doctors the ability to write online prescriptions from any Web-enabled device from all areas of their practices, including exam rooms. This provides a more convenient way for doctors to contact pharmacies, check patient records for potential drug interactions, and determine whether or not insurance plans cover prescriptions.
Additionally, eMD.com will help its client base of about 90,000 physicians and 27,000 clinical users implement IBM Small Business WebConnections, a subscription-based Internet offering designed to provide hardware, software, and services that physicians need to use the Internet through a single connection. Through IBM NetVista Desktop and ThinkPad notebook computers, eMD.com provides physicians and their staff with shared Internet access and E-mail, a specialized domain name, secure remote access, firewall security, Web-site blocking, 24-hour IBM service, and can even include high-speed digital subscriber line connectivity and Web-page design and hosting.
To use the system, physicians will log on to the eMD.com site, which contains a secure profile of the user that includes his or her registration information with the Drug Enforcement Agency, state license number, and digitized signature. Once a prescription has been written online, it can be filled by pharmacies participating in eMD.com's network or by a licensed pharmacy chosen by the patient. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores projects that the number of prescriptions filled in the United States will increase from approximately 2.6 billion to 4 billion between 1998 and 2005.