Electronic Health Records

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Surescripts National Record Locator Service Continues to Grow

Three EHR companies have signed on to support the use of the health information network’s service for locating patient information.

Surescripts NRLS

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Surescripts is extending its National Record Locator Service (NRLS) to include three more EHR companies to provide healthcare teams with a fuller picture of patient medical records and lessen administrative burden.

Aprima Medical Software, eClinicalWorks, and NexGen Healthcare have all signed on to give their EHR users access to the health information record locator service in an effort to further expand EHR interoperability. 

“We are thrilled that Aprima, eClinicalWorks, and NextGen have joined Surescripts in our quest to achieve interoperability across the US healthcare system,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “NRLS is a powerful extension of their EHR capabilities that gives providers real-time, nationwide access to patients’ health histories across care settings, so they can reap the rewards of true healthcare connectivity.”

Real-time access to electronic health records on a national scale is an industry-wide priority NRLS is designed to facilitate with its focus on immediate, efficient electronic health record identification and exchange. The record locator service grants providers access to over 230 million patient health records and has facilitated over four billion interactions between providers and their patients.

While other national EHR-centric services exist, such as the one offered by CommonWell Health Alliance, the Surescripts NRLS is unique in that it uses prescription information to assess provider-patient relationships to search for contact information of providers in order to expedite record location and retrieval.

NRLS currently covers 20 times as many patients as any other record locator service in operation.

“With Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service, we are empowering clinicians to provide the highest level quality care possible,” said Girish Navani, CEO and founder of eClinicalWorks, one of the vendors newly set to support the record locator service. “Our customers now have the ability to seamlessly exchange health information and provide access to critical patient data whenever and wherever they need it.”

NRLS is not only instrumental in extending EHR exchange nationwide but also in responding to clinical data requests. Because the record locator service automatically queries and retrieves documents from the EHR system, providers and clinical administrators can cut down on time used manually responding to requests.

Patients and providers alike often express dissatisfaction with the amount of time spent by the latter sitting in front of a monitor as opposed to speaking eye-to-eye with patients. NRLS offers time-saving solutions to reduce administrative burden and free up clinicians to focus their attention more on providing quality care to patients and improving health outcomes.

One way NRLS achieves the level of standardization necessary to streamline EHR identification and exchange is through the Carequality Interoperability Framework. The framework provides a standard set of legal, technical, and policy rules for health information exchange across networks.

Aprima contributes something new and unique to the locator service as the first Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) partner to join the ranks. With a FHIR partner utilizing the service and contributing resources, NRLS expands the Surescripts network by broadening the kinds of interfaces available for the locator service. At a time when FHIR standards are becoming increasingly popular, adding a partner operating according to these specifications is vital to staying ahead of the curve.

Live since last year, NRLS is a relatively young enterprise already generating interest among large vendors looking to get on board with the nationwide interoperability initiative.* Sharing patient health information within existing EHR workflows appeals to healthcare organizations and providers interested in sidestepping the arduous hassles associated with attempting to reconcile incompatible systems in EHR exchange. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the service to be in operation for two months.

“We are excited to be able to provide meaningful interoperability that ensures our clients can put timely, relevant and correct patient health information in front of the right care team," said Rusty Frantz, President and CEO of NextGen Healthcare. "This partnership is a great example of NextGen's drive to enable our industry to achieve both great patient outcomes and financial success in the emerging world of value-based healthcare."



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