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Surescripts, Epic Collaborate for Medication Prior Authorization

October 9, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Surescripts, the Arlington, Va.-based operator of a national clinical electronic network, and the Verona, Wisc.-based vendor Epic Systems are collaborating to integrate medication prior authorization into Epic electronic health records (EHRs).

Surescripts’ CompletEPA for medication prior authorization will be available for Epic users, the organizations announced. The medication prior authorization process is an important administrative task that requires a variety of forms, faxes and phone calls to collect information to review and determine prescription coverage.

To this end, Surescripts CompletEPA is a real-time electronic prior authorization (ePA) solution fully integrated into a physician’s EHR workflow that enables immediate information exchange between providers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). In collaboration with Epic, this solution has the potential to impact 100 million patients across the U.S., Surescripts officials say.

Medication prior authorization is intended to control treatment costs, but it also adds thousands of dollars in administrative costs for doctors each year. According to a report from Health Affairs, physicians spend an average of eight hours each week at an annual cost of up to $7,000 on filing paperwork, faxing and phone calls to process prior authorizations. Eventually this delay in treatment can cause patients to lose interest in treatment altogether, with 20-30 percent of patients abandoning their prescribed medications at the pharmacy.

“Moving the prior authorization workflow into the EHR can save time for both physicians and payers,” Sumit Rana, Epic’s CTO, said in a statement. “It’s also good for patients when medications are approved faster, and they receive their prescriptions sooner.”

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