American Academy of Family Physicians Partners With Health Care Notification Network to Speed Delivery of Important Drug Information

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223

LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Academy of Family Physicians today announced its support of the Health Care Notification Network, an online Patient Safety Drug Alert network that replaces the traditional paper-based alerts delivered via the U.S. Postal Service. The AAFP endorses the HCNN as improving patient safety by making drug and medical device warnings immediately available to prescribers.

“The HCNN is an important resource for our members. It will help family physicians by keeping them aware of the latest prescription drug information in real time,” said Ted Epperly, MD, AAFP president. “This system will improve patient safety, and keep family medicine at the forefront of the technological revolution that is helping to make health care more efficient and effective.”

Electronic notifications through the HCNN significantly reduce delays in notifying medical professionals of important patient safety alerts, dramatically improving patient safety. Upon the issuance of an alert or recall, the information is made available immediately, ensuring the most rapid and effective delivery of these important updates. AAFP member physicians can enroll for this service at

Prescribers enrolled in the HCNN are notified of the issuance of a recall or alert via e-mail. To ensure the information is received, a hard copy of the recall or alert is sent via the U.S. Postal Service if the electronic message is not viewed by the prescriber within 72 hours. Physicians may also request that a copy of the alert be delivered to other office staff, further improving patient safety and office efficiency.

Physicians not yet enrolled in the HCNN will continue to receive paper-based Patient Safety Alerts via the U.S. Postal Service, typically a few weeks after the online delivery via the HCNN.

The HCNN was launched five months ago and already reaches more than 250,000 physicians as a result of the joint efforts of medical societies, the University Healthcare Consortium, liability carriers, health plans, consumer advocacy groups, government leaders and industry.

The addition of the AAFP will bring more family physicians to the HCNN effort and will help fulfill new FDA guidance for electronic communication of patient safety notifications.

Joining the network is free to all licensed U.S. physicians, and the HCNN is used solely for Patient Safety Alerts, not for advertising or promotion. The HCCN is governed by the iHealth Alliance, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the interests of patients and providers as health care moves online.

“Modern medicine relies heavily upon the valuable role played by family physicians in hospitals, clinics and other medical practices throughout the country,” said Nancy Dickey, MD, former AMA president and chair of the iHealth Alliance. “Our goal is to have every physician subscribe to the HCNN by year’s end.”

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,