A new report from Surescripts demonstrates how the nation’s leading health information network collaborated across the healthcare market to improve the accuracy of e-prescription transactions by 64% since 2016, leading to better e-prescribing quality, safety and cost.
“Surescripts has worked across the industry to consistently improve the accuracy of e-prescribing as part of our commitment to increasing patient safety, lowering costs, and improving the quality of care,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “From a quality and safety standpoint, e-prescribing’s value is realized when patients receive the right drug, at the right cost, without any delay or inconvenience that may cause them to give up on treatment.”
E-prescribing changed the way patients, prescribers and pharmacists interact. The handwritten doctor’s note that was often illegible or lost in transit is now a secure, digital transaction that arrives at the pharmacy instantly. But with 40 different data elements in each electronic prescription, the potential for conflicting information, errors or misinterpretation means that manual intervention is often needed to ensure the pharmacy dispenses the correct medication intended by the prescriber.
The Impact of E-Prescribing Errors
In 2016, Surescripts launched the Critical Performance Improvement (CPI) program to identify, validate and address e-prescribing’s most prevalent “pain points” and introduced Surescripts Sentinel® to measure and monitor the accuracy of every electronic prescription transmitted by Surescripts. The CPI program brings together hundreds of individuals representing health systems, health technology vendors, pharmacies and pharmacy benefits managers from across the Surescripts Network Alliance.
“Accurate prescriptions enable pharmacists to play a more meaningful role on the patient’s care team,” said Larry King, Pharm.D., Manager of Clinical Informatics at Surescripts. “Eliminating manual rework at the pharmacy means they can have conversations with patients about adherence, and better support the prescriber’s care plan.”
E-prescribing errors have a direct effect on patient satisfaction and outcomes, and they pull skilled pharmacists out of their automated workflows onto the phone or fax machine to clarify prescriber intent.
For example, when information in the Drug Description field doesn’t match the National Drug Code (NDC) identifier, an arthritic asthma patient may receive a propellant inhaler they can’t operate, rather than the dry powder style their prescriber intended for them.
When the Days Supply, Potency Unit Code, patient directions (“Sig”) or Notes fields are erroneous or ambiguous, the patient may take the medication incorrectly, or the pharmacist may dispense a liquid when the prescriber intended a tablet.
Duplicate prescriptions put patients at risk for an adverse drug event (ADE). Mismatched pharmacy location data means phone calls to ensure the e-prescription is sent to the right place. And lack of visibility into patient benefit eligibility slows the adjudication process at the pharmacy.
Recognizing Industry Leaders
The Surescripts White Coat Award™ recognizes industry leaders who make the greatest progress toward e-prescription accuracy and improving the prescribing process for physicians, pharmacists and patients. In 2019, Surescripts expanded the award to include pharmacy industry leaders, along with EHRs and health systems.
“Prescription accuracy is paramount to providers and patients alike,” said John Beck, Chief Solutions Officer and Executive Vice President for NextGen Healthcare, a leading provider of ambulatory-focused technology solutions, and 2018 White Coat Award winner for Highest Accuracy. “Our partnership with Surescripts offers practices a safer and more efficient electronic prescription management capability that increases medication adherence and reduces prescription fraud. The result is better quality care for patients and increased confidence and efficiency for physicians.”
The 2019 White Coat Award will be presented during the Surescripts Network Alliance Forum in Minneapolis on September 24. To learn more, visit Surescripts.com/whitecoataward.