ePocrates Praises National Patient Safety Week's Focus on Reducing Medical Errors

1 in 5 U.S. Physicians and Thousands More Health Care Pros Rely on ePocrates' High-Tech Tools to Enhance Patient Care

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 10, 2004 -- Patient safety is a year-round focus for ePocrates, Inc. with the company's core values and products clearly aligned with enhancing patient care and safety. ePocrates is the leading provider of comprehensive clinical reference tools that physicians and other health care professionals can use quickly and easily at the point-of-care in the exam room via the latest handheld and Internet technology.

As hundreds of hospitals and healthcare organizations across the United States answer the call to action to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors by recognizing this week's National Patient Safety Awareness Week, ePocrates, Inc. applauds this annual campaign by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

"ePocrates supports the combined efforts of the health care community and both public and private sector agencies in addressing the important issue of patient safety," said ePocrates President and CEO John Voris. "ePocrates is resolved in its commitment to bring critical information directly to the point of care for physicians and patients. Changes in treatment guidelines, concerns about patient safety, efforts to contain costs, less time and better informed patients have combined to make the point of care even more important -- a time where decisions are made and when access to clinical reference information is critical."

ePocrates is the leader in providing clinical information at the point of care, with over 340,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals -- including 20 percent or 1 in 5 of U.S. practicing physicians, subscribing to its clinical reference applications for handhelds/PDAs.

In addition to its widely used handheld and Internet-based clinical reference applications, ePocrates also supports patient safety through its DocAlert(R) messaging service. Up to three short and timely news briefs are delivered to users each time they update their ePocrates(R) software. These messages include important medication safety alerts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control, Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Messages also cover valuable clinical news targeted by specialty, medical and practice management news. Users can also view additional information about the alert, save it to their PDA or request additional information via e-mail. Depending on the alert, this may include clinical abstracts, CME or conference event notification, comprehensive clinical guidelines, and links to useful websites and electronic reports.

"Every day, ePocrates delivers alerts to nearly 60,000 healthcare professionals. Over half of these alerts have been focused on safety-related issues and clinical news and guidelines. We are continually reviewing material from medical journals and associations, government agencies, health and medical news services and other sources to bring the most relevant alerts concisely and conveniently to our subscribers," said Edward Fang, MD, ePocrates Editor-in-Chief who leads the Medical Information Team that develops content for the company's clinical reference applications.

-- ePocrates impact on patient safety is evident. For example, ePocrates has proven its value in the emergency room, according to MedAmerica Mutual, a physician-directed and controlled professional liability insurer specializing in serving emergency physicians and their medical groups, which began distributing PDAs with ePocrates software to its insured physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 2001. More recently, MedAmerica has subsidized the purchase of ePocrates Rx Pro(TM) for some if its insured. MedAmerica said that 91 percent of the respondents to their most recent PDA user survey indicated that using ePocrates as a drug/medical reference tool or drug calculator reduced the potential for serious medication errors.

-- Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School conducted a study of physicians and medical students using ePocrates' drug reference guide. The survey found that respondents had been able to successfully incorporate handheld devices into their patient care workflow, and that with the use of a drug information database, clinicians saved time, improved knowledge for themselves and their patients, and possibly decreased preventable adverse drug events.

-- TNS Intersearch conducted an independent, third-party survey of ePocrates' physician subscribers to evaluate their usage and perceptions of ePocrates compared to other available clinical reference resources, such as medical journals and WebMD/Medscape. Most notably, ePocrates was the highest ranked electronic resource and was ranked by users on a par with medical journals as being highly credible.

Many of the technologies that are put forward to address medication errors have not yet worked through the logistics necessary to result in widespread adoption. Other high-tech options are costly or time-consuming to implement. ePocrates offers easy-to-deploy, cost effective and clinically sound applications that can positively impact patient safety and satisfaction today.

"We all hear horror stories about patients getting too high a dose of a medication or being prescribed two drugs that have serious interactions," said Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph., M.S., D.Sc., president and founder of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. "But the truth of the matter is that it's virtually impossible for doctors to keep track of the mindboggling number of new drugs, new indications and constantly changing treatment guidelines. ePocrates tools are practical and easy to use, a simple mobile application that can help physicians protect patients and make sure they get the best care possible."

About ePocrates, Inc.

San Mateo, CA-based ePocrates Inc. is the leader in providing clinical information to physicians and other health care professionals at the point of care. Over 340,000 health care professionals, including over 140,000 U.S. physicians, currently subscribe to ePocrates clinical reference applications which include the ePocrates Rx(R) drug references: ePocrates Rx, its core clinical reference guide; ePocrates Rx Pro(TM), which also includes an herbal database, an infectious disease application and dosing calculator; ePocrates Rx Online(TM), which extends access via the Internet and provides additional features like printable patient education information; and the ePocrates Dx(TM) medical diagnostic and therapeutic reference based on content from the editor of 5-Minute Clinical Consult. ePocrates also provides formulary information from health plans, hospitals, Medicaid agencies and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies that represent over 95 million individuals, and messaging, market research and clinical trial recruitment services. For more information on ePocrates, visit http://www.epocrates.com.

SOURCE ePocrates, Inc.

Web Site: http://www.epocrates.com