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Surescripts reports healthcare interoperability reached record levels amid pandemic

Last year, 1.89 million healthcare professionals exchanged 20.4 billion secure transactions, a 16.6% increase from 2020, according to the Surescripts 2021 National Progress Report.

As COVID-19 reshaped American health care, interoperability showed real progress with care providers using shared health intelligence more than ever to make care better, safer and more cost-effective, according to the Surescripts 2021 National Progress Report.

The report shows how the Surescripts network helped inform billions of healthcare decisions—making prescriptions more affordable, boosting medication adherence, simplifying the specialty medication experience and fortifying care management processes.

“This year’s National Progress Report demonstrates nationwide momentum toward interoperable, digital health intelligence sharing,” Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts, said. “By leveraging the Surescripts network, healthcare professionals of all kinds are getting clinical intelligence at the right time, in the right place, so that they have the trusted insights they need to serve patients.”

[Read more: Surescripts, Diameter Health team up to simplify specialty prescribing, fulfillment]

Notable findings in the Surescripts 2021 National Progress Report include highlighting how interoperability across health care is gaining momentum.

In 2021, 1.89 million healthcare professionals exchanged 20.4 billion secure transactions, a 16.6% increase from 2020. Use of Surescripts Medication History by providers in population health programs increased 53%, and use of medication history for patient intake, hospital admission and care coordination increased 21%. Use of Clinical Direct Messaging increased 81%, with 143 million clinical direct messages sent and received last year. Surescripts Record Locator and Exchange was utilized by more than 197,000 clinicians to exchange clinical history, an increase of 44% over 2020. 

With technology supporting pharmacies’ central role in today’s care landscape, they used Clinical Direct Messaging to send 16 million COVID-19 vaccination notifications to primary care providers. Pharmacy enablement for CancelRx increased to more than 88% and enablement for RxChange, to reduce back and forth between pharmacists and prescribers, rose to more than 73%. 

[Read More: Empowering pharmacists: Technology and automation companies offer operational solutions for pharmacies]

Clinicians are solving for medication affordability and adherence upfront, with more than 570,000 prescribers used Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit to access medication pricing information 422 million times, saving patients $36.69 per prescription on average, and $264 per specialty prescription on average, the company said. 

Shared intelligence is simplifying specialty medication workflows. The number of prescribers enabled for Specialty Patient Enrollment increased 38%. Specialty pharmacists used Specialty Medications Gateway three times more than in 2020.

In 2021, there were 120 new specialty medications supported by Specialty Patient Enrollment, bringing the total to 282, and the number of unique disease states covered increased from 9 to 23 to reduce time to therapy. One specialty pharmacy that implemented Surescripts Specialty Medications solutions improved average time to fill by two days and dispense rate by 14%—while eliminating nearly half of the calls they’d been making to prescribers for missing clinical data.

[Read More: Surescripts survey: COVID-19 accelerated tech usage, but there is room for growth]

E-prescribing is improving safety and efficiency for even more prescriptions. Use of e-prescribing increased from 84% to 94% of all prescriptions, and from 58% to 73% of controlled substance prescriptions, the company said. 

Surescripts saw a 10% networkwide improvement in its Quality Index Score, which measures factors that could impact the prescribing process like increased patient safety, reduce time spent in fax and phone call follow-up.

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