Monday, April 16, 2007

E-Rx doesn't officially launch until Thursday, but, having been founded and funded by the genius who launched American Online, Steve Case, I'm expecting big things.

The venture's mission is well-stated—"to give consumers more choice and control over their health care, enabling all of us to live healthier, better lives"—and its ambition—to be "the most trusted brand in health" information—is intriguing.

As far as I can tell, the site's most useful aspect is its individualization: by creating a free account, you can store, privately or publicly, your health history, like what pills you take or what allergies you have.

Another exciting health-IT proposal comes from the Bethesda-based firm Prematics, whose pitch is as follows. Nearly all new prescriptions are written the old-fashioned way—with a "ballpoint pen, clipboard, [and] rows and rows of paper files," as Newt Gingrich recently put it. This process is riddled with error and inefficiency—often fatally so, as is the case when a sloppy "5" looks likes a "6" or a period is misplaced.

Using a device it dubs an iPod for prescriptions, Prematics seeks to relegate this era of doctors' handwriting to museums. Say goodbye to hieroglyphs and say hello to Times New Roman.