EMR EHR eprescription health network

The New Year brings even more responsibility to Surescripts e-prescription network.  For those who aren’t aware of the expanse of their operations, Surescripts is the nation’s largest e-prescription data routing network—connecting pharmacies, physicians and insurance payers. 

Routing Progress
With having steady growth over the past few years; this e-prescribing network is the standard for most electronic health record systems (EHR).  Most complete EHRs have a specific module dedicated to patient prescription maintenance, as it will eventually be a requirement through ONC guidelines given that e-prescribing is a major element of Meaningful Use.

More and more pharmacies, EHRs, and most major payers are included in their network.  Given the influence of Surescripts on the overall health IT industry, EHR Scope needed to take a closer look at how these modules are operating in one of the nation’s best e-prescribing networks.  If you are looking at new EHR systems, perhaps membership in the Surescripts network should be a key factor to weigh in your decision.  When considering an implementation, the ease-of-use and functionality of the e-prescribing solutions are best represented by some of these key elements:

  • Efficiency in direct routing of prescription information, reducing patient error
  • Patient data such as allergies to reference new prescriptions, thereby increasing patient safety
  • Immediate confirmation of insurance coverage, allowing coordinated payment at point of transaction
  • A More robust record of patient prescription history across populations, bolstering research and decision support initiatives of Meaningful Use
  • A more robust record of controlled class prescriptions, reducing non-legal use or abuse of pharmaceuticals, so as to support enforcement capibilites

When combined, these elements are slated to reduce public costs of healthcare at what some analysts have projected to be well over $20 billion over the next ten years after incentive pay-outs.  These numbers are rough, as full implementation of these technologies is not yet realized, although current growth is exponential.  The savings for a small practice represented in RCM measures are proportionate, and the physicians we consult (through our EMR Consultant arm of operations) agree that these networks not only save in cost, but also have improved the care outcomes of their patients.  To those physicians we frequently surveyed, quality of e-prescribing modules is one of the major requirements when looking for EHRs.

Is your EHR Surescripts Certified?
The role of e-prescribing in the national health information network, as one of the larger layers of data coordination, serves as a testbed for later developments in other issues to come (think research and decision support).  And so when operating in the world’s largest e-prescription network it makes sense that the network provider should make sure all of the software vendors are registered as functional within a reasonable level.  While initial certification is required, there are some additional levels of certification that allow those premium vendors, of EHRs and modular e-prescribing software, to stand out in the field.  Currently, the two levels of certification to look for when shopping for an e-prescription capable EHR should be Surescripts Solution Provider and the top level Surescripts Gold Solution Provider certification programs. These certifications are definitely a seal of quality when selecting various EHRs and modules routed to the national network.

It is no surprise then, that Surescripts have recently been authorized, by the ONC and CMS, to perform various certification processes outside of their specific e-prescription network.  Under direction and in partnership with ONC-ATCB CCHIT, Surescripts will have the ability to certify for Meaningful Use guidelines.  CCHIT, of course, is the long time player in EHR standards establishment and certification—certifying the overall quality and usability of the software.  CCHIT certification was “Meaningful Use” certification prior the current ONC and HITECH ordained system (final rule released as of this week: see press release).

2011 is going to be busy with development for Surescripts specifically, and across the national e-prescribing health information network infrastructure.  For more information including certifications cost and EHR adoption statistics, see Surescripts’ website at www.surescripts.com.

About Surescripts

Surescripts operates the nation’s largest e-prescription network and supports a rapidly expanding ecosystem of health care organizations nationwide. Surescripts was founded on the principles of neutrality, transparency, interoperability, efficiency, collaboration and quality. Surescripts connects prescribers in all 50 states through their choice of e-prescribing software to the nation’s leading payers, chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies.

Available during emergencies or routine care, The Nation’s E-Prescription Network gives health care providers secure, low-cost, electronic access to prescription and health information that can save their patients’ lives, improve efficiency and reduce the cost of health care for all.

About EHR Scope, LLC

EHR Scope is a leader in EHR consulting and education.  They offer a variety of valuable resources to help physicians and practices navigate their way through the EMR implementation process.  EHR Scope includes a network of resources for EHR comparison, multimedia industry news and information vital to operating within current Healthcare legislation and guidelines for ARRA stimulus HITECH act.  Check out www.ehrscope.com and www.ehrtv.com for more information.