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The Surescripts Network Alliance® is making progress toward perfecting e-prescribing through its Critical Performance Improvement (CPI) program, eliminating 50 million potential instances each month where a pharmacist has to leave their workflow to clarify prescriber intent. In 2017, Surescripts measured a 26 percent improvement in prescription accuracy by optimizing the e-prescribing process across five key elements: Drug Description, Representative National Drug Code (NDC), RxNorm, Structured and Codified Sig and Potency Unit Code. Having automated nearly three-quarters of U.S. prescriptions, the nationwide network’s focus has evolved from connectivity and data sharing to ensuring that the data being sent and received is accurate, relevant and timely.

“These results are proof positive of our unique ability to deliver safer and more affordable prescriptions by providing the actionable intelligence that healthcare professionals need to make the best possible care decisions for their patients,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “This work and the resulting progress are indicative of the Surescripts Network Alliance’s commitment to realizing the full potential of e-prescribing, and driving industrywide alignment on how existing standards should be used for patient care.”

In 2015, Surescripts convened representatives from every facet of the Surescripts Network Alliance to identify and address e-prescribing’s pain points. In 2016, Surescripts created Sentinel™ to monitor and analyze electronic prescriptions and identify opportunities to improve the accuracy of the one billion e-prescriptions that cross the network each year. Throughout 2017, many of the leading electronic health records (EHR) vendors committed their support to the CPI program by rolling out updates and introducing new end-user functionality to improve prescription accuracy.

A recently published study found that more than one in ten e-prescriptions—or nearly half a million a day—has a Sig (i.e., patient directions) that contains a quality issue. These anomalies have the potential to cause confusion, errors and workflow disruption at the pharmacy. Given that Surescripts processes 4.8 million e-prescriptions each day, optimizing the system can greatly improve care quality, reduce costs and enhance patient safety. Additionally, identifying accuracy issues at their source ensures higher quality information every time the prescription data is used from that point forward, such as during the medication reconciliation process.

The study also identified more than 800 variations of how prescribers communicate the Sig “Take one tablet by mouth daily” when using the free-text field. The adoption of Structured and Codified Sig standardizes the way prescribers enter patient directions—a key factor in creating clear, accurate and fillable prescriptions that don’t require costly and disruptive phone calls for both pharmacists and prescribers.   

As part of its ongoing effort to optimize e-prescribing, the company is launching a revamped Surescripts White Coat Award™ to recognize EHRs and health systems that have taken meaningful steps to improve e-prescription accuracy. EHRs and health systems that contract directly with Surescripts are eligible for the new and improved White Coat Award based on data from Surescripts Sentinel. The award includes recognition for Highest Accuracy, Most Improved Accuracy and the Trailblazer Award for the best combined results in five key areas: Drug Description, Representative National Drug Code (NDC), RxNorm, Structured and Codified Sig and Potency Unit Code.

To learn more about the new Surescripts White Coat Award, including categories, tiers, criteria and timing, visit the Surescripts booth (#632) at HIMSS, March 5–9 in Las Vegas, or click here. EHRs and health systems that contract directly with Surescripts are invited to a reception in the Surescripts booth on Wednesday, March 7 at 4 p.m. PST.

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