Alexandria , VA - November 15, 2007 - SureScripts® applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for proposing the adoption of additional technical standards to be used by participants in the Medicare Part D program when they prescribe electronically. By requiring the use of technical standards for
electronically sharing medication history along with formulary and benefit information, CMS will have passed another important milestone in its ongoing work to help guide the nation toward a more efficient, safe and interoperable system of health care.
These standards, as well as the technical standards for new prescriptions and refill requests, are currently in production as part of the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, operated by SureScripts.
Providing physicians with secure access to their patient's medication history has significant benefits. By providing access to a more complete, electronic record of a patient's medication history, physicians are able to make a more thorough check for potentially harmful drug interactions and, more generally, to make a more informed decision regarding drug treatment.
Technical standards for formulary and eligibility information enable SureScripts to put information about a patient's drug coverage at a physician's fingertips, when that physician is prescribing. This eliminates many of the questions that often require pharmacists and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to place multiple
phone calls to a physician's office - every day, all day long. SureScripts believes that the use of these standards will help reduce the opportunity for medication errors and the inefficiencies that continue to plague a prescribing process reliant on phone calls, fax machines and paper.
"We support the proposed ruling on the technical standards and urge their rapid implementation," said SureScripts President and CEO Kevin Hutchinson, who is also a commissioner on the Department of Health and Human Services' American Health Information Community. "The sooner we take action, the sooner we will establish a safer, more cost effective, more automated process for providing prescriptions to millions of patients across the nation.
"Thousands of pharmacies across multiple regions in the U.S. have been using the proposed standard to electronically provide medication history information to physicians for over a year now," said Hutchinson.
"Establishing it as the official and accepted standard for the secure delivery of medication history is one element that will clear the path for more pharmacies to deliver more medication history records to physicians in more regions across the U.S."
SureScripts also supports the CMS proposal to replace the NCPDP SCRIPT 5.0 standard with NCPDP SCRIPT 8.1 for all of the indicated message types, including new prescriptions, refill requests, refill responses and cancelled prescriptions. Over the past 18 months, SureScripts has successfully migrated the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange and its certification of pharmacy and physician solution providers from SCRIPT 5.1 to 8.1.