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Remember when patients would bring hand-written paper prescriptions from their doctor’s office to the pharmacy to be filled? Just over two decades ago that was the norm. But as we grew to trust technology and its place in our daily lives, it became clear that it could also make prescribing medications safer while making it simpler for prescribers and pharmacists to care for their patients.

Innovative technology has continued to transform healthcare since then. But one thing remains the same: Surescripts helped set the standard for safe, clear prescriptions while implementing E-Prescribing more than two decades ago.

Keeping patients safe is central to Surescripts’ purpose and the reason we’re preparing for whatever comes next to advance health intelligence sharing across the industry.

The State of Play:

In 2023, Surescripts processed 2.5 billion electronic prescriptions, including 302.9 million electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, according to the 2023 National Progress Report.

As the nation’s leading health information network, it has never been more important for Surescripts to continue raising the bar for quality and patient safety.

The Big Picture:

The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) represents healthcare industry organizations and stakeholders and is responsible for establishing standards for the electronic information exchanges within the pharmacy services sector.

Zoom In:

In 2023, NCPDP proposed new standards, including NCPDP SCRIPT Standard Version 2023011, Real-Time Prescription Benefit v13, and Formulary and Benefit v60.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expected to finalize the latest NCPDP standards upgrades, making improvements to exchanges of patient clinical and benefit information that are required to be implemented across the industry.

What's the Impact:

Surescripts is partnering closely with NCPDP as we prepare to support the upgrades as defined in the forthcoming CMS final rules.

Surescripts will upgrade several solutions to meet the NCPDP SCRIPT Standard Version 2023011, once finalized, including E-Prescribing, Electronic Prior Authorization and Medication History for Ambulatory and Medication History for Reconciliation.

In addition, NCPDP has established standards for Real-Time Prescription Benefit v13 and Formulary v60, which apply to Surescripts Real-time Prescription Benefit and Formulary solutions, that are also awaiting a final rule to be issued by CMS.

Why It Matters:

The standards upgrades will enhance essential exchanges of patient clinical and benefit information, ensuring these technologies meet the highest level of patient safety possible while also helping prescribers make better informed and less costly prescription medication decisions alongside their patients.

Looking Ahead:

Leveraging our experience supporting Surescripts Network Alliance participants through the previous upgrade in 2017, Surescripts will deliver a simplified and optimally coordinated system upgrade that benefits the Network Alliance with a focus on patients and the people who care for them.

Surescripts preparations are underway to ensure that our technology and exchanges of clinical intelligence meet the technical requirements. In addition, we’re providing ongoing communications, education and tools to make sure the upgrade is seamless and efficient across our network.

Go Deeper: In 2023, Surescripts and the Network Alliance, continued to evolve as the nation’s leading health information network, supporting nearly 24 billion exchanges of patient clinical and benefit information, connecting 2.14 million care providers and organizations and reaching more than 99% of the U.S. population.

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