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Interoperable Health Information Technology Enables Secure Information Sharing Between Pharmacies and Primary Care Providers

ARLINGTON, Va. – With pharmacies playing a central role in the nation's vaccination and pandemic response efforts, Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging has emerged as a critical tool for notifying primary care providers of COVID-19 immunizations. Since December 2020, pharmacies across the country, including Albertsons and CVS Health, have used the technology to send more than 7 million COVID-19 immunization notifications to primary care providers nationwide. This innovation replaces the need to fill out paper forms, send faxes or depend on patients to notify their primary care provider themselves.

"Participants across the Surescripts Network Alliance continue to find innovative ways to leverage existing technology to answer the nation’s call for help with COVID-19," explained Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. "The increased adoption of interoperable technology like Clinical Direct Messaging helps facilitate the seamless and secure exchange of patient health information, delivering actionable patient intelligence when and where it’s needed most.”

Built using the Direct Standard™ and integrated into EHR and pharmacy software, Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging connects clinicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals with secure, HIPAA-compliant exchange of protected health information across multiple care collaboration scenarios. In 2020, more than 745,000 individuals and organizations used Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging to improve transitions of care, send immunization notifications, coordinate medication management efforts and achieve federal incentives requiring the use of secure electronic messaging.

“We are committed to our customers and communities to deliver timely healthcare solutions, including administering COVID-19 vaccinations. We have administered over 5.5 million COVID-19 doses and used Surescripts direct messaging service to report many of them to our customers’ primary care providers,” said Omer Gajial, Albertsons Companies Senior Vice President, Pharmacy and Health. ”We encourage customers to visit our pharmacies for their COVID-19 vaccination and other health issues, knowing we have solutions like Surescripts in place to help in their wellness journey.”

In February, President Biden announced the first phase of the federal pharmacy program to distribute vaccines directly to retail pharmacies nationwide, and many U.S. states expanded administration sites beyond hospital systems and local health departments to include independent and chain pharmacies.

This approach adds to the growing list of innovative uses of Direct Secure Messaging in response to the pandemic. Since February 2020, 41 health systems have leveraged Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging to send more than 12 million electronic case reports for COVID-19 diagnoses to public health agencies across 64 jurisdictions nationwide. Other popular use cases include sending referral and consultation notes, addressing controlled substance abuse and implementing collaborative practice agreements.

“It’s clear that innovation and interoperability have accelerated as care providers nationwide battled the pandemic,” explained Scott Stuewe, President and CEO of DirectTrust, the alliance responsible for the security and trust framework enabling the robust Direct Secure Messaging network. “The Direct Standard™ has been put to the test and is helping expand interoperability to fulfill the potential of care management and value-based care programs, bringing timely and secure patient insights into focus for clinicians and organizations across the country.”

Surescripts is accredited under the DirectTrust Accreditation program that recognizes organizations who have demonstrated best practices, met HIPAA, privacy, and security compliance standards, and validated policy requirements. DirectTrust accreditation shows compliance with DirectTrust which connects a vast network of connected partners utilizing Direct Messaging technologies using the Direct Standard. Surescripts is accredited for its Health Information Service Provider (HISP), Registration Authority (RA) and Certificate Authority (CA) operations in support of DirectTrust messaging for Clinical Direct Messaging and related solutions.

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