NU Online News Service, August 10, 2004, 11 a.m. EST

A coalition of 8 software firms and an industry group is trying to convince doctors to submit more prescriptions on line.[@@]

The coalition is encouraging physicians to send patients’ prescriptions directly to pharmacies over the Web. By eliminating paperwork and reducing errors, the goal is to cut a major component of U.S. health care costs.

The new San Francisco-based coalition, called Caf? Rx, was founded by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Capgemini S.A., Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, NDCHealth, RxHub and SureScripts.

“Caf? Rx will promote and support real-time connectivity between physicians, payers, pharmacy benefit managers and retail pharmacies through vendor-neutral platforms and solutions,” says Donald Gravlin, vice president and chief technology officer for Capgemini Health’s payer practice.

“We view e-prescribing as an essential step in the migration to the comprehensive automation of clinical processes.”

In addition to educating payers and physicians about on-line prescriptions, Caf? Rx says it will help to lobby federal and state governments to give incentives to doctors who e-prescribe.