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Planning and Testing: Two Essential Ingredients for a Successful SCRIPT Migration

No news can sometimes be good news. At least that was the case for Allscripts, an electronic health record (EHR) company, when they supported one of their health system customer's migration to NCPDP SCRIPT Standard v2017071 for E-Prescribing earlier this year.

Established by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), v2017071 minimizes rework and includes standardized language that creates clear, accurate and fillable e-prescriptions. The standard also expands the use of enhanced transactions, letting pharmacies electronically request changes or clarifications to prescriptions and request prior authorizations. Together, these enhancements to electronic prescribing will help patients avoid adverse health events and increase their speed to therapy.

Allscripts' goal for its customer was to not experience any significant issues after going live with NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071. This was a tall order when you consider that the health system includes over 20 hospitals, 800 in-person healthcare facilities and 77,000 employees – making it AllScripts' most extensive system update ever. And, the migration happened in the midst of a global pandemic, so the entire process needed to be conducted virtually with COVID-19 precautions in place.

As part of the migration, all of the health system’s prescribers enrolled in E-Prescribing required an update to their provider registration to continue using the functionality. With over 100,000 active records, this was the largest update sent from Allscripts to Surescripts in Allscripts history. "The volume was unprecedented in Allscripts history," Allscripts Program Director Maureen Gomez and Tyler Higgs, Manager Technical Support shared.

Despite all of those obstacles, the migration was a huge success.

"We've been smooth sailing," Holly Wakely, Senior Manager of Sunrise Medication Management Applications at Allscripts, explained. "If things were problematic, we would absolutely know about it."

Why was this transition so successful? It boiled down to two things: planning and testing.

"It just goes back to always testing. We sound like broken records, but that really was our experience."

– Holly Wakely, Senior Manager of Sunrise Medication Management Applications at Allscripts

"We needed to do upfront analysis before we got to the SCRIPT migration itself," Senior Director of Hospital EMR Applications for Allscripts Vincent D'Angelo explained. "Because executing was one thing, but we needed to determine how to do it first. We planned, planned and planned around that."

Specifically, they asked themselves where the work effort was going to be. Allscripts’ customer had data-driven statistics that helped show re-registration of providers was going to be the heaviest lift. Their upfront analysis was essential for successfully executing.

Allscripts Director of Hospital EMR & Medication Management Applications Ilonia Rozo-Forero shared that they discussed the pros and cons of updating everyone at once or updating in phases.

Once the partners had a sense of their strategy, it was time to test. "It just goes back to always testing," Wakely shared. "We sound like broken records, but that really was our experience."

This is just one of the many examples of organizations across the Surescripts Network Alliance that have successfully migrated to NCPDP SCRIPT v2017071. In fact, as of May 2021, all pharmacy benefit managers and health systems had completed the migration for E-Prescribing, along with most pharmacies and just over half of EHR vendors.

For the past four years, Surescripts has supported the network-wide migration to NCPDP SCRIPT v2017071 for E-Prescribing and Medication History by supporting thousands of organizations throughout the migration process, publishing dozens of technical guides and FAQs, sending hundreds of emails, and hosting dozens of webinars and other events.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) deadline to migrate to the NCPDP SCRIPT Standard v2017071 was January 1, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Surescripts extended its sunset date for SCRIPT Version 10.6 of December 1, 2020, by nine months to September 1, 2021.

Any organization that has not yet initiated or does not complete their migration by September 1, 2021, must prepare their end users for the fact that they will not be able to use Surescripts E-Prescribing or Medication History services.

Don't leave patients or providers hanging on September 1. Visit https://surescripts.com/GetSCRIPT to learn more and contact your Surescripts Account Manager to check the status of your EHR vendor's migration.

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