October 2017

Rising to the Challenge of Turning Data into Actionable Patient Intelligence

This week, the Surescripts network gathered in Washington, D.C., for our annual Customer Forum. Together with hundreds of partners from virtually every area of the industry, we discussed some of our most pressing issues. An expert panel dug into the opioid epidemic and a variety of ways to address it. Roundtable discussions yielded new ideas on further increasing e-prescribing accuracy, and we explored the benefits of the new NCPDP SCRIPT standard. We heard updates on policy, including the 21st Century Cures Act and the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act. And we went in-depth with guests from ONC and the HHS Office for Civil rights on the state of health IT as it relates to privacy, patients’ access to healthcare data and interoperability.

Needless to say, it’s an uncertain world of new challenges, so the chance to get together in one place and learn from each other is invaluable. And the Customer Forum taking place during National Health IT Week makes it a great time to reflect on our past progress and get clear on seizing the opportunities ahead.

In 2001, the pharmacy industry formed SureScript Systems to replace paper prescriptions with more accurate, efficient and secure electronic prescribing. Then, in 2008 we joined forces with the three largest PBMs to create a link between payers and prescribers. This historical alliance set a precedent for the kind of industrywide collaboration we just demonstrated at the Forum, as well as throughout the year. This is a real-world application of how the ability to solve healthcare problems is built right into our makeup. We do it by convening the industry, putting the right people together in the right settings, and making our collective voice heard in the marketplace.

Today, 70% of prescriptions are delivered electronically. And while we hear e-prescribing referred to as an interoperability success story, we also still hear frustration that interoperability isn’t our reality by now. While nearly all hospitals are using electronic health records, ease of use is a still major pain point for physicians. That’s why we’re committed to working with ONC and others to improve usability and “unlock Health IT’s full potential,” as John Flemming, M.D. said in his blog post earlier this week.

To do this, we have to acknowledge the unique power of our “network effect,” which is unlike anything else in the industry, thanks to our origins, experience and scale. The network effect means that we’re exponentially better when we work together. And it also means that we’re completely interdependent. We only win when everyone wins, with the “holy grail” of patient safety, lower costs and better care as the ultimate prize.

We recognize that we don’t exist to merely move data around. Our purpose is to serve people by turning data into the actionable intelligence that leads to better healthcare decisions, wherever they’re made. The world’s best healthcare providers and their patients deserve nothing less.

We also recognize that, having built this incredible network together with you, we now have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to help solve some of the bigger problems facing healthcare today. So, we’re shifting our thinking to a world where healthcare providers have all of the information they need to make complex clinical decisions. And we’re evolving to think holistically about applying the network’s ability to address opioids, advance interoperability, help providers and their patients manage high-cost specialty drugs, and get the most value out of e-prescribing through better quality.

In the spirit of this week and on the heels of conversations with so many smart and passionate people at the Customer Forum, I am even more certain that we will rise to the new and complex challenges we face. The truth is that together, and only together, we will continue to lead the change that the nation’s healthcare system really needs.

Check out our video about the value of the actionable intelligence Surescripts delivers.

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