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Surescripts 2020 National Progress Report Highlights Impact of COVID-19 on Health IT and Care Delivery

ARLINGTON, Va. – In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital transformation of healthcare accelerated in 2020 with increased adoption of interoperable tools to support innovations in care management, price transparency and specialty medications, according to the Surescripts 2020 National Progress Report. This annual report demonstrates the significant progress being made across the Surescripts Network Alliance, as healthcare organizations gained secure access to health information for 324 million patients, representing 98% of the U.S. population.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the intense need for making health information available and accessible across care settings, as care providers found new ways to deliver care," explained Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “In 2020, the Surescripts Network Alliance rose to the challenge and armed more care providers than ever before with actionable patient intelligence to inform care decisions and enable safer and more affordable prescriptions.”

Key Highlights from the Surescripts 2020 National Progress Report:

  • E-Prescribing adoption exceeded one million prescribers for the first time, adding 63,000 prescribers in 2020 and a total of 1.91 billion electronic prescriptions. Many prescribers provided care virtually, with the number of electronic prescriptions written using telehealth increasing 72.5% during the first month of the pandemic.
  • Adoption of Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) made significant progress, as prescriber enablement increased 30% and more than half (58%) of controlled substance prescriptions were electronic.
  • Providers also ramped up their adoption and utilization of innovative tools for price transparency. More than 413,000 prescribers used Real-Time Prescription Benefit to perform nearly 240 million benefit checks at the point of prescribing, an increase of more than 75% over 2019.
  • Specialty medications require a unique and time-consuming process that can delay time to therapy by up to two weeks according to nearly 40% of providers. In 2020, the Surescripts Network Alliance drove a 214% increase in the number of prescribers enabled for Specialty Patient Enrollment.
  • In an effort to avoid the administrative burden and related delays of paper-based public health reporting, 35 healthcare organizations nationwide used Clinical Direct Messaging to send nearly six million electronic case reports for COVID-19 to 61 jurisdictions nationwide.
  • Care management expanded with a 159% increase in the number of medication histories delivered to health systems, hospitals and accountable care organizations as part of their population health initiatives.
  • More than 137,000 clinicians used Record Locator & Exchange to access and share patient records, including 426 million links to clinical document sources, across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Network performance remained a priority in 2020 as the Surescripts Network Alliance continued to optimize the network to deliver industry-leading security, reliability, and accuracy. Surescripts initiated efforts to eliminate duplicate messages and medications, reducing the number of Medication History messages delivered from 2.18 billion in 2019 to 1.95 billion in 2020. And together with pharmacies, health systems and technology vendors, Surescripts improved its network-wide Quality Index Score for e-prescription accuracy by 11%.

Download the Surescripts 2020 National Progress Report to learn more about how technology is transforming healthcare. Explore Intelligence in Action to read more about how the Surescripts Network Alliance is powering care management and public health with interoperability, optimizing prescriptions for affordability and adherence, and remapping the specialty medication journey.

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