INTELLIGENCE IN ACTION

Surescripts Is Helping Independent Pharmacists Spend More Time with Patients—And Less Time with Paperwork

No one becomes a pharmacist because they love paperwork. Pharmacists don’t want to double as health insurance specialists or medical researchers. They’re problem solvers and advocates and care givers driven by compassion and science and healthcare. They are members of their community with a passion for counseling neighbors to live and feel better

Independent pharmacy owners and pharmacists often serve people with chronic conditions in need of high touch care. And, unfortunately, that level of attention generates an exorbitant amount of administrative burden and rework. As a result, they’re experiencing burnout at a higher rate than ever before

According to the 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Study, 35 percent of independent pharmacists said their current workload had negative or very negative effects on the time spent with patients.

Pharmacists often serve as the go-between with prescribers, insurers and patients. During the back and forth that can occur with phone calls and faxes, patients are kept waiting and growing increasingly frustrated, some walking away from the counter empty handed because of surprisingly high costs or delays in filling their prescriptions.

110 million prescriptions are abandoned at U.S. pharmacies annually.

As we celebrate American Pharmacists Month, there is good news – Surescripts supports independent pharmacies by way of technology and tools designed to help them receive prescriptions faster, more clearly, and at a price that patients can afford. The better news? Shorter exception queues, lower abandonment, better adherence, reduced operational inefficiencies, greater job satisfaction, and happier, healthier patients. 

And beyond the tools that Surescripts provides independent pharmacies are the standards that we help develop and implement to make the process of e-prescribing even better. At the moment, we’re in the midst of an industry-wide migration to the first new technical standard for e-prescribing in almost seven years (the deadline for adopting the new standard is January 1, 2020). SCRIPT v2017071 is the backbone of nationwide e-prescribing. It is a standardized set of data elements and codes developed and maintained by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). The enhancements in this version fall into two categories: the incorporation of new data segments, elements and codes to existing messages such as new prescriptions (NewRx), and the addition of new messages such as the ability to transfer electronic prescription information between pharmacies (RxTransfer).

The migration to the new SCRIPT standard requires a lot of work across the Surescripts Network Alliance. Pharmacy technology vendors, electronic health records (EHR) vendors, prescriber organizations, and pharmacies must all take action to realize the benefits of improved patient safety and increased operational efficiency across the healthcare system.

If you’re an independent pharmacist looking to spend less time with paperwork and more time caring for the people in your community, Surescripts can help. If you’re attending next week’s NCPA 2019 Annual Convention, visit us at Booth 1218. You can also learn more online or by calling the Independent Pharmacy Helpline today.

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