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Surescripts Facilitated Health Data Exchange Growth in 2016

Surescripts latest national progress report shows health data exchange within the interoperability network is up 12 percent from 2015.

Health Data Exchange

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Surescripts recently released its 2016 National Progress Report showing the interoperability network enabled over 10.9 billion secure transactions in 2016 — up 12 percent from the previous year.

In 2016, Surescripts increased the number of healthcare professionals in its network by 21.5 percent, bumping its count up to 1.3 million in-network providers. The network’s health data transactions in 2016 also include 1.6 billion electronic prescriptions. Additionally, Surescripts provided secure patient data for 230 million patients, or 71 percent of the population.

 “Surescripts is uniquely capable of delivering actionable patient intelligence that leads to better healthcare decisions, wherever they are made,” said Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton. “We started with e-prescribing, and we’ve expanded our support of prescription decisions to include patient-specific authorization, benefits and cost information.”

The 2016 progress report shows the network enabled over 1.08 billion medication history transactions offering patient data to providers at the point of care. The report also showed Surescripts delivered over 2.2 million patient care summaries including information from over 43 million patient visits to more than 165,000 clinicians.

The network also made strides in improving e-prescribing by reducing prescription errors to ensure patient safety. In 2016, Surescripts convened nearly 200 representatives from pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), EHR software vendors, and drug compendia to collaborate and address pitfalls with e-prescribing.

The team established network-wide best practices and identified opportunities for improvement.

 “Safety with electronic prescribing is incredibly valuable,” said CEO of Southeast Texas Medical Associates Dr. James Holly. “I think we're going to see over the next ten years the incidence of medication-related deaths go down dramatically — maybe even to approaching zero because of the legibility, the availability and the ease of reconciliation of those medications.”

Through establishing best practices and potential areas for improvement, Surescripts expects to see a 22 percent improvement in e-prescribing accuracy through Surescripts Sentinel.

Surescripts Sentinel is the network’s automated system designed to monitor e-prescribing quality and accuracy. 

The network is also interested in automating and streamlining manual prior authorization — a time-consuming process that has become tedious to 91 percent of physicians.

By automating prior authorization, Surescripts intends to eliminate the need for physicians to waste time and frustration gaining prescription approvals. According to the report, Surescripts’ electronic prior authorization process has so far returned 60 percent of approvals within one minute of request.

Along with improvements in e-prescribing, the adoption of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) increased over the last year in an effort to combat the opioid abuse problem plaguing the industry.

Surescripts reported delivering 45.34 million prescriptions for controlled substances for a 256-percent increase over 2015.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Carolina joined the top ten for EPCS enablement for prescribers and pharmacies.

Surescripts also saw users taking advantage of recently expanded e-prescribing functionalities allowing prescribers the ability to change or cancel prescriptions already sent to pharmacies to prevent adverse drug reactions due to duplicate or unnecessary medications.

According to the report, 100,000 prescription requests were cancelled using the functionality in one month.

CVS Health recently signed on to use Surescript’s Medication History for Panel Management service along with five other health organizations and was one of the first to utilize the prescription cancellation functionality.

“We’re really excited about CVS being one of the early adopters of the cancel message, and we hope that more pharmacies support it so that the providers have a single experience,” said Clinical Informatics and Population Health specialist at Epic Joel Jones, PharmD. “It's clear that CancelRx is one of those things that we want to do. We don’t want to be limited by just being able to submit and receive information, but make sure we're all on the same page.”

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