In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, healthcare IT solutions providers Surescripts and Allscripts are collaborating to provide free access to patient-specific medication history data for pharmacists in Texas and Louisiana for a limited time.
Pharmacists interested in utilizing the service should visit www.surescripts.com/harvey for instructions on how to become authorized to access the Allscripts application through which they can then obtain patient consent to see a 12-month view of a patient’s medication history. Prescribers who do not already utilize medication history data through their electronic health record (EHR) software can also download the free, cloud-based application to gain access, according to a press release from the vendors.
In response to Hurricane Harvey, the federal government declared public health emergencies in Texas and Louisiana, granting Medicare beneficiaries and their health care providers increased flexibility in meeting emergency health needs and loosening some provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Further, the Texas Pharmacy Act (Sec. 562.054) and board rule 291.34 allow a pharmacist to dispense up to a 30-day supply of a prescription drug, other than a Schedule II controlled substance, without the authorization of the prescribing practitioner.
Thousands of residents throughout the region have been displaced from their homes due to the massive flooding, with an estimated 10,000 people living in shelters in Houston, including nursing home and hospital patients. Many pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices have been closed, prescribing patterns have been disrupted, and many patients will need to reconnect with their care regimens, likely in new settings. In fact, Surescripts data showed a 93 percent decrease in the volume of prescriptions delivered in the days immediately following the storm.
The nationwide Surescripts network connects more than one million healthcare professionals and 230 million patients and provides prescribers access to medication history data. Allscripts technology platform connects 45,000 physician offices and 185,000 clinicians.
Tom Skelton, Surescripts CEO, said in a prepared statement, “Most physicians already have access to medication history data via their EHR software. However, during a natural disaster this information is critical for pharmacists who may need to deliver medications outside of normal practice patterns. In some situations, it is a matter of life or death for critically ill patients who have been displaced and may have lost their medications or can’t recall their medication list.”
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