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Surescripts’s State of Digital Health Information

By: | Tags: , , , , , | Comments: 0 | May 22nd, 2015

Surescripts ( recently released their 2014 National Progress Report and it was very impressive! Surescripts processed 6.5 billion health data transactions in 2014 – a feat that the company’s officials say marks a major digital transformation of U.S. healthcare. I don’t think that is an exaggeration. We are past the tipping point in the use of technology in healthcare. Based on the report, the company handled more transactions over the past year than American Express (6 billion) or PayPal (4.2 billion).

In a press release dated May 19, 2015 Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton commented:

“Connecting the nation’s healthcare system is a monumental task, and while more work is needed to ensure true interoperability nationwide, there is no question that the Surescripts network is more connected than ever before,” said Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton, in a press statement. “Healthcare is evolving and our collective ability to share health information is addressing a major pain point for providers and patients that ultimately saves time and money and improves the quality of care.”

At of the end of 2014, Surescripts connected 900,000 healthcare professionals, 61,000 pharmacies, 3,300 hospitals, 45 immunization registries, and 32 state and regional networks, with access to health information for 230 million patients representing 71% of the U.S. population – I love these numbers!

In 2014, 56 percent of physicians and 95 percent of pharmacies processed over 1.2 billion electronic prescriptions on their network. That number includes 67 percent of first time prescriptions.

Surescripts network expanded beyond electronic prescribing to include 764 million medication history transactions and 7.4 million clinical messages.

I would suspect that the utilization of medication history data occurred in hospitals, with 44 percent of U.S. hospitals adopting the technology. Utilization of medication history data in acute care settings, such as hospital emergency rooms, increased 75 percent over 2013.

It is impressive that over the last few years Surescripts has built the largest physician directory with more than 160,000 providers connected to exchange clinical messages. Also on the hospital side, they have handled a large number of discharges, visit summaries, patient charts and referral orders. This capability helps hospitals meet regulatory requirements and improves patient outcomes. The volume of clinical messages that passed through the Surescripts network last year increased 1,300 percent over 2013.

E-prescribing of controlled substances increased 400 percent in 2014, with a total of 1.67 million controlled substance e-prescriptions nationwide. However, according to the Surescripts report, adoption among providers is still low. Across the country, 73 percent of pharmacies are ready to receive electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, but the number of prescribers who are ready to send them is just 1.4 percent!

– Noel J. Guillama, President



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