When people ask me why I choose to work at Surescripts, the answer is simple: I truly believe in the value of what we do here. And ultimately, the most important thing we do is keep patients safe. One way we do that is by delivering clear and accurate electronic prescriptions.
With billions of e-prescriptions crossing our network each year, anything that compromises the integrity of an electronic prescription could jeopardize the health and wellbeing of virtually every American patient, including my loved ones. And that’s what drives me.
As an active member and co-chair of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) Workgroup 10, as well as a pharmacist and health IT professional, I have the chance to be an advocate and to contribute my clinical and technical expertise to help move the industry forward. In doing so, I am proud to be a champion for the critical role pharmacists play and the tools they need to provide safe, effective and efficient patient care.
And now, with the adoption of NCPDP SCRIPT Standard v2017071, the industry has reached a major milestone that will deliver clear, accurate and fillable e-prescriptions, as well as greater patient safety and provider efficiency.
We recently connected with Geeta Patil-Borse, Senior Software Engineer, and Hemal Desai, President of BestRx, a pharmacy software vendor, to understand their experience with this important NCPDP standard and why it was a top priority for them and their users.
Was your SCRIPT migration a major priority for your organization? If so, why?
Desai: Yes, it was a big priority. E-Prescribing has greatly increased efficiency and accuracy in the pharmacy industry over the past 15 years, and we are proud to have been part of that change from the beginning. We also wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to implement new changes as quickly as possible so that our clients can benefit from the features of the new SCRIPT standard sooner rather than later. It takes several years between each new iteration of the SCRIPT standard, which means that many of the new features in the newer standard have been needed for quite some time. We didn’t want to make our clients wait any longer to benefit from the newer standard.
How will your users benefit from the latest SCRIPT standard?
Desai: The improvements in the directory will make it easier to identify and communicate with the correct prescribers. The addition of the compound features will make e-prescribing easier for pharmacies to fulfill compound prescriptions. The addition of new use cases for RxChange as well as new message types such as NewRx Request and RxTransfer will add new functionality to our system, as will new fields such as urgent indicator, prohibited refill request, allergy-adverse event, et cetera.
“We also wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to implement new changes as quickly as possible so that our clients can benefit from the features of the new SCRIPT standard sooner rather than later.”
Tell us about your migration process. How long did it take? How many people were involved? What steps were required?
Patil-Borse: It took us around three months to complete certification. Our team of five included two developers, two project leads and one e-prescribing advisor. Here are the steps we followed:
1. Analyze the changes in the directory structure.
2. Implement the 6.1 directory changes.
3. Analyze the changes in the message structure.
4. Ensure the changes were accommodated while reading the message and make sure all the data is interpreted and displayed per Surescripts’ guidance (Ex: changes in the Sig length, communication numbers and benefits of coordination).
5. Implement the XML structure changes for outgoing messages.
6. Add the new features available in the 6.1, like urgent indicator, prohibited refill request and allergy-adverse event.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to complete your SCRIPT migration?
Patil-Borse: There were a few challenges in the migration process. The file structure changed on how we get service levels so figuring out how to handle this was a challenge, as was learning about the structural changes to the messages. There was less information available in the documentation for some of the parts of data and since we were using mailboxing, deciding on a rollout procedure was difficult. We determined that a bulk rollout was too risky, so we came up with a phased rollout plan in which a group of pharmacies shifted to the new 6.0 portal as they upgraded to the BestRx version which could handle the 6.1 messages.
How did Surescripts support you leading up to and during your migration?
Patil-Borse: As one of the early adopters, we needed Surescripts' help in understanding the new concepts and how to handle them, especially from the pharmacy's point of view. Our integration manager helped us a lot with prompt and thorough responses.
Like BestRx, most technology vendors and pharmacies have already completed the migration to NCPDP SCRIPT Standard v2017071. And like BestRx, their users are already benefiting. By continuing to drive broader adoption and better data quality, e-prescribing will realize its full potential—for the benefit of every prescriber, pharmacist and patient.
On September 1, Surescripts will sunset SCRIPT v10.6 for E-Prescribing and Medication History. If you haven’t started your migration or will not complete it by September 1, 2021, your users could experience service disruptions.
Don't leave patients or providers hanging. Visit /GetSCRIPT to learn more and reach out to your Surescripts Account Manager to complete your migration.