Technology has the ability to allow levels of information sharing that can make people’s lives significantly easier. Sharing of patient health records is a great example: The ability of medical providers to connect with pharmacies regardless of location can help both provide higher-quality health care. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lack of immediate access to health information causes 20% of preventable medical errors, and missing medical information impacts one out of seven primary care visits.
Surescripts, the nation’s largest health information network, wants to improve those numbers. The company will implement its National Record Locator Service with electronic health record (EHR) vendors eClinicalWorks, Epic and Greenway Health. Surescripts will enable more than 480,000 providers to locate and exchange patient health records stored in any healthcare location across the country. CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), supports this and other efforts to improve physician connectivity to vital records.
Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service will be implemented according to the Carequality framework for internetwork health information exchange. The framework combines legal agreements that enforce the responsibilities in Carequality’s Principles of Trust with implementation guides that outline business and technical requirements.
“[This] marks a major milestone in our collective effort to connect the nation’s healthcare system and enable interoperability between disparate parts of our healthcare community,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer, Surescripts. “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.”
The Surescripts National Record Locator Service is a federated query-and-response solution that integrates with the provider workflow through existing EHR software. This capability leverages the Surescripts nationwide network and Master Patient Index of more than 230 million patients to locate and exchange patient records. It will give clinicians a fast and easy way to obtain a more complete view of a patient’s health history without relying on the patient’s memory.
In 2014 more than 7 billion secure, electronic transactions crossed the Surescripts network. which connects 60,000 pharmacies, 900,000 healthcare professionals, 3,000 hospitals and 700 EHR applications. Among the transactions were prescriptions, referrals, discharges, visit summaries, immunization notifications and radiology reports.
Surescripts continued efforts to ease finding and aggregating patient medical records, regardless of where patients received care, while ensuring the highest level of security, privacy and patient consent. Its efforts have earned the company a FedPulse Winning Contractor commendation.