Hands typing on a keyboard.

Surescripts launches new prescribing technologies for specialty pharmacies

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Sandra Levy profile picture

Surescripts is streamlining the prescribing process for specialty pharmacies. The company is introducing Specialty Medications Gateway, and Electronic Prior Authorization, two new technologies that enable specialty pharmacies to gather clinical information and conduct prior authorizations within their workflow, so that patients may get on therapy faster.

Surescripts Specialty Medications Gateway helps specialty pharmacists gather necessary patient information without getting bogged down in phone calls and faxes to prescribers, which keeps them from spending time with patients. It enables specialty pharmacies to initiate a patient search, and gather clinical information required to fulfill a specialty medication, directly from the patient’s electronic health record. This service also helps determine when more information is needed and for which medications. Surescripts Specialty Medications Gateway complements Surescripts Specialty Patient Enrollment that automates the enrollment process for prescribers.

Electronic Prior Authorization gives specialty pharmacies a streamlined way to obtain prior authorizations on the prescriber’s behalf. With an automated prior authorization workflow embedded in their pharmacy software, specialty pharmacies have both a clear path to prior authorization and the information they need to dispense the medication—ultimately enabling them to start patients on their therapies faster and redirect time and resources back to patient care.

According to a recent survey, half of specialty pharmacists said it takes at least four days to fill prescriptions for specialty medications, and wait times of seven to 10 days are not uncommon. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of specialty pharmacists say administrative tasks get in the way of patient care. Prior authorization tops the list of stressors and delays they report facing, Surescripts said.

“Specialty pharmacists can now leverage technology throughout the fulfillment process to reduce administrative burdens, get critical specialty medications to patients faster, and get critical time back to counsel patients,” said Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton. “These new services are more important than ever, as specialty pharmacists are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating and dispensing needed medications, addressing medication shortages, and counseling patients.”

“Our pharmacy plays a crucial role in connecting patients with financial assistance and ensuring they receive their medications safely and in a timely manner. To do our job right, we need to quickly and accurately obtain critical demographic, clinical and diagnostic information from the prescribing physician,” said Brian Seiz, president of pharmacy for Express Scripts and Accredo. “Surescripts’ new technology will help us further streamline this information gathering process so we can focus on caring for our patients with serious and complex conditions.”

When prior authorization information is not received or initiated by the prescriber, specialty pharmacists must spend significant time fielding phone calls and sending faxes to verify information with clinicians’ offices. On average, 39% of specialty pharmacists have to reach out to clinicians for more information at least five times a day, according to the company. 

“By offering technology that is embedded in our pharmacy software, we can help relieve our team of some of the heavy administrative burdens they face with the often manual process of fulfilling specialty medications,” said Tim Gallagher, Sterling Specialty Pharmacy president. “We’re excited to help specialty pharmacy professionals get back to the heart of their role: helping patients manage their conditions as efficiently and effectively as practicable, so they can live as healthy a life as possible.”