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Surescripts sees rise in health information transactions

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National Progress Report also notes increase in e-prescribing

ARLINGTON, Va. — Surescripts said its health information network processed more than 10.9 billion secure transactions in 2016, up 12% year over year.

That transactional traffic included 1.6 billion electronic prescriptions, or 180,000 every hour, according to the Surescripts 2016 National Progress Report, released this week.

Last year, Surescripts’ interoperable network connected 1.3 million health care professionals, up 21.5% from 2015, to provide patient data for 230 million Americans, or 71% of the population, with the goal of enabling better decision making and improving health outcomes, the company  said.

“Surescripts is uniquely capable of delivering actionable patient intelligence that leads to better health care decisions, wherever they are made,” Surescripts chief executive officer Tom Skelton said in a statment. “We started with e-prescribing, and we’ve expanded our support of prescription decisions to include patient-specific authorization, benefits and cost information. The progress we’re seeing reinforces the value we’re delivering by increasing patient safety, lowering costs and ensuring quality care.”

Surescripts noted that it has continued to enhance its network to aid the prescription decision-making process, help optimize patients’ medication adherence, and provide patient insights to support transitions of care. In 2016, more than 1.08 billion medication history transactions with critical patient data were made available to providers at the point of care, the company said. The network also delivered more than 2.2 million documents summarizing where patients received care, including information from more than 43 million patient visits to more than 165,000 clinicians.

The rising use of e-prescribing in 2016 also led Surescripts to bolster patient safety, with the ultimate goal of reducing e-script errors to zero.

“Safety with electronic prescribing is incredibly valuable,” stated James Holly, CEO of Southeast Texas Medical Associates. “I think we’re going to see over the next 10 years the incidence of medication-related deaths go down dramatically — maybe even to approaching zero — because of the legibility, availability and ease of reconciliation of those medications.”

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) also is gaining steam among prescribers and pharmacies as they grapple with the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic, Surescripts said. The report tallied 45.34 million prescriptions for controlled substances delivered electronically in 2016, up 256% from 12.81 million a year earlier.

Four new states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Carolina — entered the top 10 for EPCS enablement among prescribers and pharmacies, according to Surescripts. And in New York, where an e-prescribing mandate took effect last April, prescriber enablement grew 45.5%, resulting in a 54.2% jump in the number of controlled substances prescribed electronically.


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