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Nearly every conversation at HIMSS23 was centered on how interoperability can make healthcare better.
We wholeheartedly agree. And we’ve been making interoperability a reality for more than two decades. Across the Surescripts Network Alliance last year, we supported 21.7 billion exchanges of patient-specific clinical and benefit information—from e-prescriptions to electronic prior authorizations, and from medication history requests to Direct messages. Together, we are delivering nationwide interoperability at scale today.
Surescripts CEO Frank Harvey along with Network Alliance partners and industry leaders spoke at an event during HIMSS23 about how interoperability can help ensure access to healthcare across the country.
Hear what they shared:
Interoperability means different things for different healthcare professionals and organizations.
In each of the sessions I hosted with Terry Douglas at the HIMSS23 Interoperability Showcase, we shared how Surescripts has led the advancement of interoperability, defining it simply as the ability for information to flow efficiently across healthcare systems.
In practice, interoperability means putting the patient—and the right information—at the center of care, helping clinicians to make better-informed decisions, aimed at greater safety, higher quality and lower costs for their patients.
Today, we’ve demonstrated what that means across the industry – but also what interoperability means on a practical level for individual patients and healthcare providers.
On a much more practical level, one example of interoperability in action is informing prescribing at the point of care.
Interoperability can mean helping identify lower-cost medications saving patients an average of $61 per prescription and improving medication adherence with pick-up rates increasing by 3.2 percentage points, according to one study.
Surescripts is supporting these examples of efficiencies, eliminating burdensome time-consuming administrative work and are helping care providers to focus on patients more than paperwork.
The result? More affordable medications and greater medication adherence –leading to overall improved care.
Last year, the Surescripts Network Alliance connected more than 2 million healthcare professionals to trusted patient intelligence and exchanged over 1 billion links to clinical document sources at the point of care.
Continuing this important work in support of healthcare professionals, patients and their caregivers is at the center of why we intend to apply to become a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN), reinforcing our commitment to the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) and moving the industry forward.
Surescripts also released new data during a panel discussion at HIMSS23 that further accentuates the need for the right information to be available for providers at the right time.
We’ve heard different iterations of the same concerning fact: it’s predicted that by 2034, the U.S. may face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians. Yet, we also know that 9 in 10 Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy.
If this doesn’t sound like a job for interoperability – I don’t know what does!
But in all seriousness, Surescripts data shows that there’s great opportunity: nearly half of all counties in the United States have relative shortages of primary care providers (PCPs), with just one PCP for every 1,500 people, and 61% of those counties also have a high volume of retail pharmacy locations that could help expand access to primary care.
Industry leaders including Dr. Anita Patel, Pharm.D., vice president, pharmacy services development at Walgreens agreed, putting a finer point on how better information – and sharing that information with clinicians, including doctors and pharmacists, can help patient care teams preserve access to care – even in the most rural parts of the U.S.
"Technology and appropriate patient information will allow pharmacists to provide clinical care, including immunizations, medication counseling and important health screenings, allowing them to serve as effective members of patient care teams, improving healthcare in a different way than before," said Patel.
While we must continue collaborating and pushing the healthcare industry forward – embracing much needed changes in the way we think about care delivery – we must make practical advancements with technology and policy that better supports clinicians and ensures patients have access to the care they need – and they deserve.
Surescripts intends to apply to become a Qualified Health Information Network – see how we are reinforcing our commitment to advancing healthcare interoperability.