GM Connects MDs To Cut Costs

January 26, 2001 ( - General Motors is helping doctors get online in a unique approach to cutting health care costs, which are now rising at double-digit rates.

GM has entered into an alliance with MedicalLogic/Medscape to provide thousands of doctors with access to handheld devices that can provide:

  • Alerts on lower-cost generic drugs
  • Information on health care plans
  • Information on bad drug interactions
  • Access to digital health care records

The world’s largest automaker is also the largest private purchaser of health care services and prescription drugs in the US.

GM and Medscape will initially subsidize the costs of 5,000 Medscape Mobile handheld devices, while another 1,000 physicians will be given Medscape’s Logician desktop PC system.

GM’s health care plan covers 1.2 million employees, retirees and their dependents. They spent more than $4 billion in healthcare costs last year, with costs rising more than 10% a year.

Prescription drug costs were the fastest-rising component of GM’s health care bills, soaring nearly 20% to about $1 billion, according to Reuters.

Under the alliance, General Motors will receive 5 million warrants of Medscape stock, though the companies did not immediately release further financial details of the warrants or the alliance.