Surescripts said Monday that the deployment will allow more than 480,000 providers to use the technology to locate and exchange patient health records stored in any health care location nationwide.
“Today marks a major milestone in our collective effort to connect the nation’s health care system and enable interoperability between disparate parts of our healthcare community,” Tom Skelton, chief executive officer of Surescripts, said in a statement. “By leveraging the assets and existing infrastructure we built for e-prescribing, we are able to quickly scale true interoperability on a national basis to save time and money, and ultimately improve the patient experience.”
A federated query and response solution, Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service integrates into the provider workflow via current EHR software. Surescripts said the “first-of-its-kind capability” leverages its national network and Master Patient Index of over 230 million patients to locate and exchange patient records, giving clinicians a fast, easy way to get a more complete view of a patient’s health history, without relying on patients’ recollections of their medical history.
“Having the ability to locate patient records within one integrated workflow would help to improve health care quality and lower costs,” stated Troy Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health. “The result would be a more connected and integrated health care system with patients at the center on their path to better health.”
Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service will be implemented according to the Carequality framework for internetwork health information exchange, which consists of legal agreements that enforce the responsibilities in Carequality’s Principles of Trust and implementation guides that outline business and technical requirements.
“We’re very pleased that Surescripts and their partners have chosen to implement a Record Locator Service within the Carequality framework,” commented Mariann Yeager, CEO of Healtheway. “By connecting existing data sharing networks, the Carequality framework can bring together large numbers of physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care settings. It provides instant scale for efforts like this one, and the beauty of it is that it’s open. Other Record Locator Services can also implement within the framework. The framework allows for both interoperability and choice.”
Surescripts network has connections between 60,000 pharmacies, 900,000 health professionals, 3,000 hospitals and 700 EHR applications. More than 7 billion secure, electronic transactions, including prescriptions, referrals, discharges, visit summaries, immunization notifications and radiology reports crossed the the network in 2014.
“Leveraging Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service, we can offer our customers an enormous leap in search and record location capabilities,” stated Carl Dvorak, president of Epic. “We look forward to partnering with other payors, vendors and provider organizations to make it easier to find and aggregate patient medical records, regardless of where they have received care, all while ensuring the highest level of security, privacy and patient consent.”
Surescripts noted that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of preventable medical errors are caused by the lack of immediate access to health information, and one out of every seven primary care visits is affected by missing medical information.
Interoperability is defined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as the ability of systems to exchange and use electronic health information from other systems without special effort on the part of the user. Surescripts said that to realize health care IT interoperability, a number of challenges must be overcome, including patient identification, record locating, document sharing, and clinical care documentation.
“We broadly support the need for this type of expansive national record locator service,” stated to Tee Green, CEO of Greenway Health. “This is the type of game-changing initiative the industry, and especially patients, needs to help us resolve the challenges of interoperability to improve care coordination and remove waste from the nation’s healthcare system.”