Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Surescripts NRLS Extends to 14 Additional Health Systems

Surescripts has added 14 more health systems to its National Record Locator Service in an effort to improve care coordination and interoperability for providers across health settings and locations.

Surescripts NRLS

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Surescripts announced it has added 14 new health systems to its National Record Locator Service (NRLS), furthering its efforts to improve interoperability nationwide.

“In today’s fragmented healthcare environment, health systems need an easy way to securely exchange patient information,” said Surescripts Chief Executive Officer Tom Skelton. “We are thrilled to help 14 more health systems access important patient care information to increase patient safety, lower costs and ensure quality care.”

With the addition of these 14 health systems to the Surescripts NRLS network, 28 health systems total will now have access to clinical records for 230 million patients from more than four billion potential patient visits.

Additionally, 13 more health systems are in the NRLS deployment pipeline, bumping the total number of health systems utilizing the service up to 41.

The newest participants in NRLS include the following:

  • Allegheny Health Network in Pennsylvania, which consists of eight hospitals including Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Forbes, Jefferson, Saint Vincent West Penn, and Westfield Memorial in New York. The health system includes over 250 primary and specialty care practice locations.  
  • The Institute for Family Health in New York, which serves as one of the state’s largest community health centers. The health center offers services to over 102,000 patients annually.
  • JPS Health Network in Texas, which includes an acute care hospital and over 40 primary and specialty care health centers.
  • Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, which includes the 208-bed general acute care osteopathic teaching hospital Metro Health Hospital.
  • St. Luke’s Health System in Idaho, which functions as the state’s largest and only locally-controlled nonprofit health system. St. Luke’s comprises over 14,000 employees at seven hospitals.  
  • WakeMed Health & Hospitals in North Carolina, which is the largest health system in Wake County and consists of 919 beds. WakeMed’s healthcare delivery team comprises almost 9,000 employees and over 280 physicians.

“Having the opportunity to implement National Record Locator Service will benefit both our patients and providers in accessing the most up-to-date patient information, so timely and accurate diagnosis can be obtained,” said St. Luke’s Health System Vice President and Chief Information Officer Marc Chasin, MD “This service will allow us to avoid unnecessary costs to the patient and St. Luke’s Health System.”

Providers within these health systems will be able to see where patients have received care and retrieve information pertaining to past visits within their existing EHR workflow.

Since the record locator service’s debut in April of 2015, NRLS has experienced continued growth and now extends to cover nearly the entire US population.

The service operates within the Carequality Interoperability Framework and leverages a common set of legal, technical, and policy rules for efficient, secure health data sharing.

NRLS aims to assist providers in improving care coordination and reducing diagnostic errors by enabling clinicians to identify and exchange patient medical records across locations and settings.

Last month, Surescripts’ Skelton detailed the network’s goals for interoperability and health data exchange improvements in the near future.

In particular, Skelton emphasized the need for a national patient identifier, stating NRLS will dovetail nicely with the future solution.

While ONC and other federal agencies have made efforts to expedite the process of developing a national patient identifier, Skelton stated it will likely take years to make the technology commercially available and populate the identifier with every record in the healthcare system. 

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