BW0102  JAN 09,2001       5:04 PACIFIC      08:04 EASTERN

( BW)(TX-ADVANCEPCS)(ADVP) AdvancePCS, ePocrates Handheld Technology Drives Physician Office Efficiency

    Business Editors/High-Tech Writers

    IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 9, 2001--Connecticut physicians participating in a pilot project sponsored by AdvancePCS (Nasdaq: ADVP), the nation's leading health improvement company, believe handheld organizer technology has helped them significantly improve the efficiency of their practices where it counts the most -- at the point of care.
    The AdvancePCS pilot, developed in a cooperative effort with ePocrates Inc. and ConnectiCare Inc. to improve quality of care, manage drug costs and reduce work-flow inefficiencies, earned high ratings from physicians using the technology to help them make better prescribing decisions for their patients.
    ePocrates' qRx(TM) software was used to conduct a pilot to measure and interpret the value of providing drug reference and formulary information on Palm Vx handheld devices at the point of care.
    More than 80 percent of the physicians said the pilot program was valuable or very valuable, according to post-pilot research findings. AdvancePCS and ePocrates, the leading handheld network for physicians, collaborated on the project with more than 100 physicians working with patients in the ConnectiCare Inc. health plan.
    "AdvancePCS focused on providing a reference solution to meet the needs that physicians have asked for," said Jon S. Halbert, AdvancePCS vice chairman, e-business and technology.
    "We were less focused on electronic prescribing because it was not the physicians' primary need, according to our market research and findings from other pilot programs. Looking ahead, however, we do believe physicians will be interested in electronic refill prescribing."
    Overall satisfaction was high because the easy-to-use technology provided the physicians instant access to dosing and interaction facts on 99 percent of the most commonly prescribed drugs.
    Time-saving access to the majority of regional formularies simplified one of the most difficult tasks in a doctor's practice -- selecting drugs covered by health plans -- and thus reduced the number of pharmacy phone calls to the physicians to clarify or revise prescriptions.
    "AdvancePCS was excited about conducting this pilot because we believe point-of-care technology initiatives will help control drug costs and improve patient care," Halbert said. "For instance, our experience with the ConnectiCare program shows there is a real opportunity to reduce the administrative 'hassle factor' for patients and physicians -- not to mention their office staffs.
    "AdvancePCS is continuing to evaluate the data from this pilot and identify future opportunities, but we already know that it will serve as an excellent foundation for expanding research into additional facets of physician connectivity."
    Post-pilot research has revealed:
    -- Physicians believe the solution has improved quality of care,
    since they can offer patients lower copays, prescribe
    correctly the first time and increase prescription accuracy.
    -- Pharmacy call volume related to prescribing choices declined
    after physicians began using the handheld devices, which had a
    positive impact on office workflow by freeing more time for
    patient care.
    -- Three-quarters of the physicians believe the technology is
    likely to influence their choice of prescription medications
    to more appropriate, cost-effective drugs.
    -- Approximately 90 percent of the physicians are more likely to
    refer to a health plan's approved drug list when choosing a
    medication, because it takes less time and effort with
    handheld devices than with books.
    "I have been very happy with the technology because it is easy to use," said Dr. Alan Greenglass of Connecticut Health Partners Medical Group, which participated in the pilot along with ProHealth-Physicians. "I found the formulary information easily accessible and very helpful -- it has made my office more efficient."
    Jeff Casberg, ConnectiCare's director of pharmacy services, believes the project offers significant value to the plan's members, as well as physicians and pharmacies.
    "Ultimately, this project and others like it will transform the manner in which prescriptions are written and delivered to patients," Casberg said. "The information at the point of care can reduce errors, help doctors choose the appropriate medication and reduce members' out-of-pocket expense."


    AdvancePCS conducted the research to gather quantitative and qualitative measures of the value of the drug database, formulary application and handheld platform in the practices of participating physicians. Research included physicians and office staff in two specific medical groups in Connecticut who reported access to the Internet in their practice or at home.
    The two-phased research employed a benchmark and follow-up methodology that included observation, an online survey and telephone interviews with participants.

    About AdvancePCS

    AdvancePCS ( is the nation's largest independent provider of health improvement services, touching the lives of more than 75 million Americans and managing more than $18 billion annually in health care spending. The company offers health plans a comprehensive array of highly effective pharmacy benefit and health benefit management services designed to build better health.
    Its capabilities include integrated mail service and retail pharmacy networks, innovative clinical services, customized disease management programs, clinical trials and outcomes research, information management, and prescription drug services for the uninsured.
    AdvancePCS clients include Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations, insurance companies and HMOs, Fortune 500 employers, Taft-Hartley groups, state and local governments, and other health plan sponsors.
    AdvancePCS is an information technology leader and has developed several online health care solutions, including, one of the country's most comprehensive Internet pharmacies. The company's e-health portal,, helps people stay healthy by providing valuable information on health and wellness.

    About ePocrates

    ePocrates is the largest handheld physician network, enabling quick point-of-care access to important clinical information and services. The ePocrates network has grown to more than 80,000 physicians and 60,000 medical students and other health care professionals.
    Located in San Carlos, Calif., ePocrates is a privately held company led by President and Chief Executive Officer John Voris, former PCS Health Systems chief operations officer and Eli Lilly and Co. veteran.
    The company was founded in 1998 by Richard Fiedotin, M.D., and Jeff Tangney, and is funded by Sprout Group, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, InterWest, Three Arch Partners and Bay City Capital. For more information, please visit

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Any statements included in this press release that are not historical facts and that concern predictions of economic performance and management's plans and objectives constitute forward-looking statements under the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
    These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Factors that would cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, factors detailed in AdvancePCS' Securities and Exchange Commission filings.


	   CONTACT: AdvancePCS
	            Dale Thomas, 480/614-7212