In today’s fragmented care environment, patient records can be stored within electronic health records (EHRs) and across various care sites and geographies. The ability to locate and gain access to a patient's clinical records is critical to providing more informed care – a necessity with the demands of changing payment models.

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Powered by Surescripts’ nationwide network, National Record Locator Service (NRLS) gives providers a fast and easy way to obtain historical patient visit locations and retrieve clinical records, regardless of geography or EHR system. Today, the service includes 230 million patients and almost 4 billion interactions between those patients and members of their care team.

A Comprehensive Solution

NRLS supports the unique needs of each organization with three layers of locator and exchange capabilities. Depending on the technology and needs of the requesting organization, NRLS can provide:

Information Locator

Provides basic patient/provider relationship information

Actionable Locator

Includes the coordinates of document repositories to automatically leverage existing point-to-point connections


Retrieves clinical documents through hub and spoke connectivity model to extend reach

NRLS and Interoperability

Hear NextGen HealthCare's Bob Barker on NRLS and Interoperability

"By having a more complete care history, we can make faster decisions, avoid reordering expensive tests and help ensure that our patients receive the best care possible."

Richard Vaughn, MDChief Information Management Officer,
SSM Health

Video still from 'Our Culture' video


What information does Surescripts store?

Surescripts stores basic demographic information, provided by healthcare providers, for purposes of patient matching and identification. Patient demographics include:

  • Patient ID / Medical Record Number
  • Patient name: First, middle, last, prefix, suffix
  • Patient Address line 1 & 2
  • Patient city, state, zip
  • Patient date of birth
  • Patient gender

If a patient has chosen to opt-out of NRLS, this demographic information will still be stored in the Surescripts database in order to ensure information is not exchanged through NRLS.

Surescripts does not store clinical records. Clinical records are stored and maintained by healthcare providers. Surescripts simply provides secure electronic transmission of records between providers.

What kind of information can be accessed through NRLS?

Surescripts NRLS will provide requesting healthcare providers with certain demographic information to ensure proper identification and patient matching. This information is: first name, last name, date of birth, gender, zip code. Surescripts will also provide relevant information about the locations where care has previously been received so the requesting healthcare provider can request clinical records. This information may include: location name, physician’s name, location address, location phone number, visit date and technical connection information to contact the record location. The specific records or clinical documents provided will depend on the record location. A typical example of a clinical document shared between healthcare providers is a summary of care record that includes information about a patient's visit, including:

  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Diagnoses
  • Immunizations
  • Family/Medical/Surgical/Social History
  • Test Results (Lab, X-ray, EKG)
  • Discharge Information
  • Vital Signs (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, temperature)
  • Providers Progress Notes
Who has access to visit locations and records?

Healthcare providers who are currently providing treatment or managing ongoing care can request information through NRLS about previous treatment locations. Surescripts NRLS will provide the healthcare provider with that information and assist with retrieving records from those previous visits.

Why are you offering NRLS for free?

The true value of interoperability will only be realized when it is achieved at scale. By offering our NRLS capabilities for free during this start-up period, we will collectively achieve scale much sooner.

What types of organizations can take advantage of this opportunity?

The core NRLS functions of record locator and exchange capabilities will be free for EHR vendors and Health Systems that we directly contract with who subscribe to NRLS during the start-up period (until 2019).

Is it only free to the EHRs you’ve signed up?

NRLS will be free to all EHRs and Health Systems that Surescripts directly contract with who subscribe during the start-up period (until 2019). All EHRs are welcome to subscribe whether or not they were mentioned in the initial press release.

What about FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources)? I heard FHIR is going to be the solution for healthcare interoperability.

FHIR is a promising new healthcare technology standard that Surescripts is participating in developing. In fact, one of the future integration models for NRLS will use FHIR-based exchange for organizations that have not used IHE transactions. That said, healthcare data is incredibly vast and complicated and no single standard will be the complete solution. The emergence of new standards and new capabilities upon the foundations we’re building are all positive shifts in healthcare technology.

Let’s Discuss How NRLS Can Work for You


Let’s Discuss How NRLS Can Work for You