Interoperability is occurring at scale and driving measurable
improvements in healthcare quality and cost for patients and providers,
according to Surescripts
2018 National Progress Report. The nationwide health information
network processed 17.7 billion secure health data transactions last
year—a 29% increase over 2017—among 1.61 million healthcare
professionals. Surescripts also added 8 million unique patients to its
master patient index, which now includes 258 million patients, or nearly
80% of the total U.S. population and 93% of all insured patients.
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What handles more high-priority deliveries than FedEx or Amazon Prime—at speeds of under 1 second? Surescripts’ nationwide health information network. (Graphic: Business Wire)
“This rapid growth was driven by continued expansion of the Surescripts
Network Alliance™, rapid adoption of new technologies and the
introduction of new innovations in the market,” explained Tom Skelton,
Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “Together, we’re transforming
interactions between patients and the people who care for them by
improving prescription price transparency, enabling clinical information
exchange, combating the opioid epidemic and improving prescription
Clinical Interoperability Delivered at Scale
Last year, the number of clinicians using Record
Locator & Exchange to access patient records from anywhere in
the country more than doubled to 106,000. They used the technology to
access 108 million links to clinical document sources—a 586% increase
over 2017—and to exchange 99 million care location summaries among 4,680
active healthcare organizations nationwide.
Record Locator & Exchange, which leverages the Carequality
Interoperability Framework, was used by clinicians in new scenarios
across a variety of care settings. In a series of interviews, users
shared how this technology impacted patient care. For example, a
triaging emergency room physician learned of a patient’s serious
cardiovascular disease and ordered an immediate transfer to the
university hospital for aggressive treatment. In another case, a
transplant coordination team reviewed health records for a new patient
with lupus, learned of a previous blood clot diagnosis and added
blood-thinning medications to her treatment plan as a result.
Increasing Use of Technology is Combating the Opioid Epidemic
As nationwide opioid prescribing rates declined
in 2018, the use of Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances
(EPCS) increased by nearly half. The use of patient medication history
data increased 21% as Surescripts expanded the reach of its Medication
History service to include 90% of U.S. patients.
Both tools play a critical role in combating the opioid epidemic by
helping healthcare providers ensure the safe and secure prescribing of
controlled substances, and giving them a more complete and accurate
picture of their patients’ medications.
A nearly 90% increase in e-prescriptions for buprenorphine indicated
that more clinicians used e-prescribing to help treat opioid dependence
and misuse. The proliferation of state legislation mandating
e-prescribing for opioids, controlled substances or all prescriptions
contributed to the increase in prescriber enablement, with eight more
states passing mandates in 2018.
Price Transparency and Prior Authorization Tools Are Saving Time and
Driven by a 1,338% increase in provider adoption, in 2018, Surescripts
processed 40.5 million real-time benefit checks at the point of care.
Real-Time Prescription Benefit shows prescribers patient-specific,
formulary-based out-of-pocket cost information for their chosen drug and
their patient’s chosen pharmacy—as well as up to five therapeutic
alternatives in real time within the electronic health record (EHR)
With this tool, prescribers can help patients get more affordable
prescriptions faster and with less hassle. In 2018, prescribers used
Real-Time Prescription Benefit to save their patients an average of $105
per prescription for antidepressants, and $88 per prescription for blood
glucose-lowering medication (excluding insulin).
Provider adoption of electronic prior authorization also surged 128%
with data supplied directly from pharmacy benefit managers and health
plans covering 89% of U.S. patients. And as of 2018, 80% of U.S.
prescribers were using EHRs contracted to implement the solution—a 58%
increase over 2017.
Enhancing Patient Safety and Care Quality with Better Data
In 2018, Surescripts improved the accuracy of e-prescription
transactions by 14%—representing a 64% improvement since 2016—by
improving physician and pharmacy directory alignment, driving broader
adoption of appropriate transactions and other factors. As a result,
physicians and pharmacists spent less time exchanging phone calls and
faxes to clarify prescriber intent. To recognize the industry’s progress
in improving prescription accuracy, Surescripts recognized five EHR
vendors with the 2018 Surescripts White Coat Award™.
Download the Surescripts
National Progress Report. Visit surescripts.com
to learn more about solutions that enhance
e-prescribing and inform
care decisions. And explore Intelligence
in Action to see Surescripts’ work to advance healthcare.
Our purpose is to serve the nation with the single most trusted and
capable health information network, built to increase patient safety,
lower costs and ensure quality care. Since 2001, Surescripts has led the
movement to turn data into actionable intelligence, and convened the
Surescripts Network Alliance™ to enhance prescribing, inform care
decisions and advance the healthcare industry. Visit us at surescripts.com
and follow us at twitter.com/surescripts.