By Neil Versel
Feb. 12, 2008 | Less than two weeks after stepping down as chief executive of SureScripts, Kevin Hutchinson has landed as president and CEO of ePrescribing start-up Prematics (Bethesda, Md.), where he will attempt to jump-start physician adoption of the technology.
With Hutchinson still at the helm, SureScripts forecast ePrescribing volume to triple in 2008, but even that would account for just 7 percent of eligible scripts in the U.S. (See “Hutchinson to Step Down as SureScripts Top Exec.”) Hutchinson left SureScripts at the end of January, though he retains his seats on the American Health Information Community and the board of the eHealth Initiative.
“We just haven’t seen a model that worked well in automating the physician side,” Hutchinson tells Digital HealthCare & Productivity. He says this is true not only for himself but for Prematics chairman James Bradley, the founding CEO of another e-prescribing connectivity company, RxHub.
SureScripts is an eRx connectivity network with pharmacy roots, while RxHub is a joint venture of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management companies that helps users check patient eligibility at the point of care. Prematics, on the other hand, bills itself as an ePrescribing service provider for physicians, offering servers, Internet access, printers, and handheld devices, in addition to software.
“This has to be delivered as a service, not as a software product,” Hutchinson insists. “The service actually monitors the physician’s technology infrastructure. If there’s a problem with a Wi-Fi access point, we know. If there’s a problem with a printer, we know,” he adds.
Hutchinson, who starts his new job next week, says the Prematics ScriptTone service is connected to both the RxHub and SureScripts networks. “Someone has to be that last mile to these physician practices.”
The privately held company’s business model is to partner with health plans in specific geographic locations to offer ePrescribing at no cost to doctors. Prematics’ first customer is Capital BlueCross in Central Pennsylvania, which Hutchinson says has identified as many as 2,000 physicians to participate in the initial roll-out, which began last summer.
He says Prematics will announce additional deals in the coming months.