Two Billion E-Prescriptions, a Screaming Toddler and the 2019 White Coat Award

May 20, 2019

As my colleague Rachel Petersen explains it, prescription accuracy, in essence, is simple to grasp.

It means that “when you get to the pharmacy with your two-year-old who has an ear infection and is crying, you can pick up the medicine right away and get out of there. You don't have to spend 20 minutes with them in pain, wandering the aisles of the pharmacy,” says Rachel, a product manager with the Critical Performance Improvement team, charged with addressing the quality of the prescriptions that cross the Surescripts network.

It means the right medication is ready, when you need it. And it means doctors and pharmacists can focus on care, not phone calls and faxes to sort out confusing directions or doses.

There is clearly room for improvement. Last July, we published a study in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy that revealed there can be as many as 800 permutations of this familiar direction: “Take one tablet by mouth once daily.”

With nearly two billion e-prescriptions delivered by Surescripts each year, it’s more important than ever that we ensure the accuracy of those e-prescriptions, especially when patient safety hangs in the balance.  

That’s why we re-launched the White Coat Award last year and expanded it this year, to recognize the efforts EHRs, health systems and pharmacies are making to improve prescription accuracy and rewards leaders who have adopted best practices to achieve top results. The 2019 White Coat Award will include categories for highest accuracy and most improved accuracy, based on data provided by Surescripts Sentinel, an automated system that monitors the volume and accuracy of electronic prescriptions.

When the industry commits to prescription accuracy, we can take pride in the integrity of our processes and how we’re improving the prescribing process for prescribers and pharmacists. But more importantly, when the industry commits to prescription accuracy, patients win.

“The stakes are so high,” says Rachel, “which sometimes keeps me up at night, but I'm also super excited about how Sentinel and the Critical Performance Improvement program are removing potential problems and improving prescription quality every day. I feel really good about that.”

I couldn’t agree with Rachel more. So let us know if you’re ready to amp up your commitment to prescription accuracy: Check out the White Coat Award webpage and read our press release for more detail on the 2019 White Coat Award.

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