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As the industry reimagines care delivery during COVID-19, one thing remains constant: our shared commitment to patient safety.  

Today, roughly 80% of all prescriptions in the U.S. are sent electronically, but prescribers and pharmacists are still forced to leave their workflow several times throughout the day to make phone calls, fight with fax machines, and make manual corrections to prescriptions. Each electronic prescription contains 40 distinct data elements, and there can be as many as 800 variations of common directions, such as: "Take one tablet by mouth once daily," so these interruptions and confusing guidance add up quickly.

This week Surescripts celebrated 10 winners of the 2020 Surescripts White Coat Award, an annual award that recognizes healthcare industry leaders dedicated to making care safe and more efficient through e-prescription accuracy.

As Kristen Heffernan, the general manager of Henry Schein MicroMD, and one of this year's White Coat Award winners, explained, "Every doctor is going to document their prescriptions differently. While the terminology is very similar, they may put it in a different order, or they may abbreviate things differently." And when directions are unclear, or the data is poor, pharmacists spend time deciphering or clarifying intent through endless faxes and phone calls—which delays getting patients their medications.

Pharmacies, health systems, electronic health records (EHR) vendors and pharmacy technology vendors across the Surescripts Network Alliance are working together to improve e-prescription accuracy. Since 2016, the aggregated Quality Index Score for electronic prescriptions sent across the Surescripts network has improved 80%, as measured by Surescripts Sentinel.

"Year after year, participants from across the Surescripts Network Alliance continue to raise the bar when it comes to creating safer and more efficient prescriptions," said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. "These improvements mean physicians and pharmacists spent less time exchanging phone calls and faxes to clarify prescriber intent and ensure patients get the safe, effective care they deserve without unnecessary delays."

Check out the 2020 White Coat Award webpage to learn more about this year's winners and read our press release for more details on the 2020 White Coat Award.