Mobile medical software company Epocrates is joining with Walgreens to incorporate the drug store chain's Prescription Savings Club (PSC) formulary medication list into its mobile medical applications.
Walgreens' PSC is a club that provides price drops to members when they purchase prescriptions with cash.
The formulary list includes more than 8,000 medications. At least 3,000 physicians use the applications, according to the two companies.
By searching the Walgreens formulary list on Epocrates mobile applications, health care providers will be able to search for less-expensive drugs.
"By having this information readily available at the point of care, health care providers can have a meaningful conversation with patients about prescriptions and find the right fit medically and financially," said Rose Crane, Epocrates' president and CEO, in a statement.
Having the Walgreens formulary list available on smartphones could also lead to patients following through on a doctor's order to take the medication.
"When I prescribe a medication for a patient, I'm not always confident they will get it filled," said Dr. Robert Dudley, a family practice physician, in a statement. "Now with access to the Walgreens PSC formulary, I can give them an affordable option and definitive location to pick up the prescription. I'm hopeful this will make it easier for patients to comply with their drug regimen and be easier on their wallets."
Epocrates offers several mobile apps, ranging from free to $269 (with a two-year agreement). They run on Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm and Windows Mobile devices. The company also plans to add its medical tools to the Apple iPad.
The free Epocrates Rx app includes a drug interaction checker, information on brand-name over-the-counter drugs, medical news and alerts. Epocrates Rx Pro adds an infectious disease treatment guide and information on herbal medicine.
Epocrates Essentials offers the same features as the other two versions, plus disease monographs and lab test reports.
The Epocrates apps have an effect on changing medication choices, according to the company. In a survey of more than 1,000 physicians, approximately 80 percent of respondents changed their mind on which medication to prescribe based on content in Epocrates' apps.
"As health care providers, we help patients be compliant with their medications and want to make sure they are aware of their options, including ways to realize savings without compromising safety, service or convenience," Richard Ashworth, Walgreens' vice president of pharmacy operations, said in a statement.
In June Walgreens unveiled a new mobile site and updated its iPhone app to provide SMS alerts when a customer's prescription is ready. The app also offers prescription refills, coupons, a store locator, and photo uploads and ordering.