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News Release


Release No: 597-02
November 22, 2002


Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, announced today that the Department of Defense's (DoD) Pharmacy Data Transaction Service (PDTS) is a finalist in the President's Quality Award Program.

This program honors accomplishments that further the president's objectives. PDTS-a tool used to enhance patient safety-was selected from 100 applications and is one of seven finalists. The award will be presented at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Nov. 25, 2002.

In addition to the President's Quality Award recognition, Harvard's Innovations in American Government Program selected PDTS as one of 17 results-driven federal government programs to be a semifinalist for the Innovations in American Government Award. The 17 programs are among 99 semifinalists named for the prestigious award, selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 applicants. By the end of this year, 15 of the 99 semifinalists will be named finalists.

"Use of the PDTS results in higher quality medical care based on proper medication control, reduced fraud and abuse, better management reporting and control, and most important, increased patient safety," said Winkenwerder. The innovative online solution screens for and prevents potential life-threatening drug interactions in a pharmacy system that distributes prescription medications worldwide from various dispensing locations to the Military Health System's (MHS) 8.7 million beneficiaries.

The PDTS uses state-of the-art technology to link patient information between pharmacies at military treatment facilities, the National Mail Order Pharmacy, and retail pharmacies that are part of the TRICARE managed care network. The PDTS uses a robust, centralized data repository to store and analyze information about prescriptions filled across the DoD's worldwide network of pharmacies.

When a patient requests a new or refill prescription at any of DoD's worldwide pharmacies, the data is entered into the PDTS where it is compared with a complete patient medication history stored in the system's data repository. Through an automated tool, PDTS reviews a beneficiary's new prescription against all previous prescriptions filled through any point of service in the MHS.

With real-time velocity and before the medication is dispensed, warning messages and alerts are provided to the dispensing pharmacist or physician indicating possible adverse interactions, therapeutic overlaps, and duplicate treatments. Each transaction becomes part of the individual's patient profile stored in the data repository. Army Col. William Davies, director, DoD Pharmacy Benefits Division, reports PDTS has identified and avoided more than 53,000 potentially life-threatening drug interactions since activation in June 2001.

All information associated with PDTS is encrypted for security and privacy. Additional information on the PDTS is available on the TRICARE Web site at www.tricare.osd.mil/pharmacy .

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