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Surescripts Sees Health Data Exchange Growth with 26% Increase

The health information network had 13.7 billion secure transactions in 2017, showing increases with health data exchange and e-prescribing.

health data exchange surescripts interoperability

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

- The Surescripts interoperability network saw a 26 percent increase in its secure health data exchange transactions in 2017, enabling 13.7 total transactions, the company reported in its 2017 National Progress Report.

Surescripts increased the number of healthcare professionals in its network by 13 percent, growing its in-network providers to 1.47 million. Additionally, the number of health data transactions in 2017 included 1.74 billion electronic prescriptions and 25.9 million clinical direct messages.

“The Surescripts Network Alliance continued to make remarkable progress in 2017, signaling that healthcare interoperability is indeed happening today,” Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a statement. “Over the last decade, E-Prescribing has matured and scaled. Now, newer functionality like Record Locator & Exchange and Real-Time Prescription Benefit are ramping up at an impressive rate.”

“And we’re measuring, at scale, the accuracy of this massive transaction volume—a capability with the potential to truly redefine and elevate the state of U.S. healthcare.”   

Nearly 1.5 million healthcare professionals are able to access the health data of 71 percent of the population – 233 million patients. This is similar to the numbers reported in 2016, which had 1.3 million healthcare professionals able to access the secure information of 230 million patients.

More than 51,000 clinicians utilized the Surescripts Record Locator & Exchange to access and exchange 16 million clinical documents in 2017. Clinicians also exchanged 65 million documents summarizing where a patient previously received care, the report showed.

In December 2016, less than 10 states were utilizing Record Locator & Exchange. Just one year later 48 states and Washington, DC reported that they used the solution.

With clinical direct messaging, 529,000 individual and organization users in the US contributed to the 25.9 million direct messages sent, which included 22,000 pharmacies. That is a 32 percent increase in clinical direct messages from the year before.

Surescripts has also been working to fight against opioid fraud and abuse. Last year saw the number of prescribers enabled for Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) increase 59 percent. There were also 1.46 billion patient medication histories delivered across the country.

“Surescripts Medication History solutions for ambulatory care, reconciliation and population health give a more complete and accurate picture of a patient’s medication history by providing access to PBM claims and pharmacy fill data,” the report explained.

The amount of e-prescriptions that met quality standards also increased 26 percent in accuracy since 2016, Surescripts stated.

“As of December 2017 we eliminated 50 million opportunities for error or confusion per month where a pharmacist would have otherwise had to leave their workflow to clarify prescriber intent,” the report said.

Last year’s Progress Report also showed positive signs of growth, with the interoperability network increasing 12 percent to total 10.9 billion secure transactions in 2016. Additionally, Surescripts increased the number of healthcare professionals in its network by 21.5 percent from 2015.

The 2016 report revealed that Surescripts delivered over 2.2 million patient care summaries, with information from over 43 million patient visits to more than 165,000 clinicians.

Surescripts has been working toward stronger interoperability nationwide, and announced earlier this year that it enabled four million clinical records exchanges over the last three months of 2017.

More than 51,000 physicians nationwide utilized the company’s Record Locator & Exchange interoperable network last year, with 26.4 million documents on patient point of care were exchanged.

The Surescripts Network Alliance includes numerous EHR companies, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies and clinicians, and an increasing number of health plans, long-term care and specialty pharmacy organizations.

Sutter Health Clinical Informatics Director for Privacy, Information Security and Interoperability Steven R. Lane, M.D. explained that the Surescripts Record Locator & Exchange is a key component to Sutter’s interoperability strategy.

“It gives us the advantage of automation and the opportunity to use the Carequality framework, which immediately expands our access to records from those past care encounters,” he said.

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