Specialty medications are innovative and often life-changing for patients with serious or chronic illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV. But with high costs and extensive documentation requirements in the mix, the journey from prescribing to starting treatment can be complex. In a 2022 survey, most specialty pharmacists and prescribers reported that it typically takes three to four weeks to get a patient started on a new specialty therapy.

The Surescripts Network Alliance is working to help patients start their medications sooner—and their care teams spend less time on paperwork.

Specialty Medications

Surescripts Specialty Medications solutions streamline the unique complexities of specialty prescribing and fulfillment to reduce treatment delays. In 2022, we saw:

20 million specialty prescriptions processed electronically (+9.6% yoy)

33% more prescribers enabled for Specialty Patient Enrollment, automating the specialty enrollment process by securely sending required information to pharmacies at the time of prescribing

725% more Specialty Medications Gateway transactions, letting specialty pharmacists retrieve the clinical information they need from the patient’s EHR without relying on the prescriber 

250,224 prescribers supplying patient information to specialty pharmacies via Specialty Medications Gateway

Reducing obstacles along the specialty journey

Access to patient-specific benefit information is also helping overcome cost and coverage barriers to starting specialty medications promptly. Analyzing specialty prescriptions only, in 2022 we saw:

$428 average savings per prescription when prescribers used Real-Time Prescription Benefit to choose a less costly option (+62% in 2022) 

38% increase in Electronic Prior Authorization requests for specialty medications

real time prescription

Automation aids accurate weight-based dosing

Specialty pharmacy Accredo is a Specialty Medications Gateway power user. In January 2022, they enhanced their use of Specialty Medications Gateway to automatically retrieve patient weight values for use in weight-based dosing.  

Two months after implementation, Accredo reported receiving the patient’s most recent weight automatically in 60% of cases, reducing the need for manual outreach. In 11% of those cases, this information reflected a clinically significant change of +/- 10%, prompting a pharmacist to review to ensure safe, accurate dosing.  

With Accredo generating 24,000 Specialty Medications Gateway a month as of December 2022, up from 12,000 in May 2022, innovations like this can add up to a significant impact on workflow efficiency and patient safety. 

“In caring for patients with complex diagnoses, specialty pharmacists must work with efficiency and quality. Surescripts solutions accelerate the process for specialty prescribing, fulfillment and onboarding by filling information gaps with clinical intelligence. Speed and patient safety are enhanced because clean, critical clinical data is automatically delivered from the EHR with the prescription.”

Katie Reeves
Senior Product Manager, Accredo

The 2022 National Progress Report

Raising the bar for network integrity at scale
Raising the bar for network integrity at scale
Making interoperability an everyday reality
Making interoperability an everyday reality
Solving for medication affordability & adherence up front
Solving for medication affordability & adherence up front
  1. Surescripts, “Specialty Medication Experience: Obstacles & Opportunities,” September 2022.
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