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Early Action & Prioritization Leads to Minimal Disruption from SCRIPT Migration

The continued adoption of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT standard v2017071 is improving efficiency, accuracy and patient safety. But migration also provides another important benefit: minimizing disruptions to end-users.

In 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final rule adopting NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071 for E-Prescribing and Medication History for Medicare Part D. CMS established a sunset date of December 31, 2019, for NCPDP SCRIPT standard v10.6 and an implementation date of January 1, 2020, for NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071.

On September 1, 2021, Surescripts will sunset NCPDP SCRIPT v10.6  for E-Prescribing and Medication History. All electronic health records (EHR) vendors, health systems, pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who utilize Surescripts E-Prescribing or Medication History must complete their migrations to SCRIPT v2017071 by September 1, 2021. If they do not, their users will not be able to use Surescripts E-Prescribing or Medication History services.

For the past four years, Surescripts has supported the migration of the Network Alliance to NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071. In fact, since 2017, we've sent hundreds of emails, hosted dozens of webinars, and published more than 25 product guides, technical documents, FAQs and other materials to help navigate this upgrade.

Watch this: Since 2017, Surescripts has led the industry's migration to NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071.


I recently spoke with Brenda Hall, a Senior Software Engineer at CareTracker, about their migration to NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071 to better understand why they made it a priority and how it impacted their users.

How long did your SCRIPT migration take, and who was involved?

As a customer already using Surescripts E-Prescribing, our migration process from start to finish took about five to six months. We spent four to five months in development and about one to two months conducting quality assurance testing.

Our team consisted of myself as the developer for the E-Prescribing migration, a business analyst and a developer for the Medication History migration and our quality assurance team.

How did you kick off this work?

As with any major upgrade project, our first step was to determine the gaps by reviewing the documentation provided by Surescripts. Then, we determined what needed to be done and created a work item for every individual task to keep track of all the moving pieces. Our quality assurance team stepped in to make sure everything was working appropriately according to the work items. Once all of that was completed, we scheduled our certification with Surescripts.

What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome with your SCRIPT migration?

The biggest challenge was at the outset, and it was determining the gaps. A technical person conducted that evaluation, and there was a lot of documentation. I needed to read it closely and often had to revisit the documentation because I missed pieces of the analysis.

Another big challenge was combining logic for both NCPDP SCRIPT standard v10.6 and v2017071 and handle both message types simultaneously.

How will your users benefit from the NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071?

RxFill is the one new feature that we added with the upgrade that will benefit both patients and prescribers. The tool will notify prescribers about the status of a prescription, including whether the patient picked it up or if the medication was partially dispensed or never dispensed.

Why was your SCRIPT migration a priority for your organization?

We've always tried to stay on top of all requirements when it comes to E-Prescribing, and this was one of them. We prepared for the original sunset date at the end of 2020, and we had other projects lined up, so getting this done meant we could focus on other things.

How did Surescripts support you during your migration?

This project was time-sensitive, so we were glad that the Surescripts team was always there to help answer questions in a timely manner. The Surescripts team also cleared up any confusion about verbiage in the documentation or acceptable workflow. And since we had already gone through certification for E-Prescribing on v10.6, we were well prepared and had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

By taking action early and making this important migration a priority, CareTracker’s users won't experience any service disruption on September 1. While CareTracker is in good company with the majority of the Surescripts network having successfully migrated for E-Prescribing, nearly half of other EHR vendors haven’t yet completed their migrations. Are you and your users ready?

Visit Surescripts.com/GetSCRIPT to learn more about NCPDP SCRIPT Standard v2017071.

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