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Surescripts Touts Interoperability Success in 2016 Progress Report

June 7, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Surescripts released its 2016 National Progress Report today, June 7, which revealed that 10.9 billion secure health transactions took place in 2016 via its network—a 12 percent increase from 2015—including 1.6 billion e-prescriptions.

In 2016, Surescripts’ network, which its officials say is interoperable, connected 1.3 million healthcare professionals—21.5 percent more than in 2015—with secure patient data for 230 million Americans, or 71 percent of the population, with the aim to enable better decisions and deliver better health outcomes, according to the company in the June 7 press release.  

Also in 2016, more than 1.08 billion medication history transactions containing key patient data were made available to providers at the point of care. What’s more, since 2013, transaction volume has increased by 81 percent.

The Arlington, Va.-based Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service (NRLS) aims to give healthcare providers fast and easy access to clinical records and historical patient visit locations. Last year, Surescripts delivered more than 2.2 million documents summarizing where patients received care, including information from more than 43 million patient visits to more than 165,000 clinicians.

As the utilization of e-prescribing continued to grow in 2016, Surescripts also continued to enhance patient safety with an ultimate goal of reducing e-prescribing errors to zero. Achieving this goal will prevent potential patient harm, save prescribers and pharmacists hundreds of millions of dollars in lost time and productivity, and help providers focus on patient care versus tedious administrative tasks, its officials noted. In 2016, 73 percent of prescriptions were electronic, with 200,000 crossing the Surescripts network each hour.

“Safety with electronic prescribing is incredibly valuable,” said James “Larry” Holly, M.D., CEO of Southeast Texas Medical Associates, said in a statement. “I think we're going to see over the next ten years the incidence of medication-related deaths go down dramatically—maybe even to approaching zero because of the legibility, the availability and the ease of reconciliation of those medications.”

The report also indicated that the adoption of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is gaining momentum among prescribers and pharmacies in their fight against the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. Overall, there were 45.34 million prescriptions for controlled substances delivered electronically in 2016—a 256 percent increase over the year before (12.81 million). Four new states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Carolina) entered the top ten for EPCS enablement among prescribers and pharmacies. And in New York, where an e-prescribing mandate took effect last April, prescriber enablement grew 45.5 percent, resulting in a 54.2 percent jump in the number of controlled substances prescribed electronically, according to the report.

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