Surescripts goes beyond eRx to share clinical health information Print
Written by Molly Merrill, Associate Editor, HealthcareIT News   
Friday, 03 December 2010 15:31

NEW ORLEANS – Surescripts is expanding its nationwide e-prescribing network with a new service that will allow for the exchange of clinical health information, officials announced Monday at the MGMA 2010 annual conference in New Orleans.

Officials said the new service will make it easier for physicians, pharmacies, PBMs, health systems, electronic health record systems and health information exchanges to send and receive clinical messages, including up to date summaries of a patient's recent visits with their healthcare providers.

"The services will be new, but the approach will not," said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. "Surescripts will adhere to the same set of principles that propelled e-prescribing adoption in the U.S. to 200,000 physicians in less than a decade: privacy, security, neutrality, physician and patient choice, transparency, collaboration and quality. We will continue to work with and enable our EMR partners.  These are the principles that brought together more healthcare organizations for the purpose of electronically sharing information than ever before and these are the principles we will keep. Our network will be open and neutral and we see it as complementary to other healthcare networks and to local exchanges."

The expansion includes providing Surescripts' users with new secure messaging tools through its investment in Beaverton, Ore.-based Kryptiq. Surescripts's new Clinical Interoperability Services when combined with Kryptiq's clinical messaging technology, will allow the company to offer three options to electronic health record vendors, health systems, health information exchanges and the physicians they serve.

"What this subscription messaging service promises is an affordable pathway for doctors to meet several of the criteria for meaningful use without disruption of office workflows and with assurance of reliability equal to that which they already expect with e-prescribing exchanges," commented David C. Kibbe, MD, senior advisor at the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The three options the service will offer are:

  1. Net2Net Connect will allow health systems and technology vendors that already support clinical information sharing within their network to connect to Surescripts in order to receive and send clinical information outside their network. This new service will be available in Dec. 2010.
  2. Message Stream will provide secure messaging tools for health systems and technology vendors to enable their physicians to electronically exchange clinical information. This will also be available in Dec. 2010.
  3. Clinical Message Portal will be for providers that today do not have an EHR system to send and receive clinical messages. The new service will be available in Jan. 2011.

"Healthcare information exchange enables clinicians to coordinate care, improving quality, safety, and efficiency," said John Halamka, MD, chief information officer of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Surescripts is accelerating connectivity by leveraging their existing e-prescribing network to provide novel data exchanges among providers."

A two-year technology pilot at Minute Clinic, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark and the largest provider of retail medical clinics in the United States, has been testing the clinical messaging technology. Surescripts is already linked with over 500 CVS Caremark MinuteClinic sites across 26 states. Launched in November of 2008, the service has grown to where MinuteClinic nurse practitioners are today using the Surescripts network to share thousands of patient summaries with their patient's physicians each month.

"Patients receive care in different settings and, as a result, their information must be able to follow them wherever they go," said Troy Brennan, MD, chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "Each and every time that MinuteClinic shares information via the Surescripts network with a patient's medical home, it improves the continuity of care."

The Surescripts network will remain complementary to current EHR, HIE and health system networks by allowing them to connect to a national backbone that, in turn, can connect them with any other network.

"The Surescripts initiative is consistent with plans of the Department of Veteran Affairs to add implementation of the Nationwide Health Information Network Direct capability, to the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record portfolio," said Roger Baker, assistant secretary for information and technology for the Department of Veterans Affairs. "Our intention is to facilitate secure, standards-based health information exchanges between VA and the private sector. A large number of Veterans receive some portion of their care from community providers and this initiative will assist us in improving the continuity of care for our Veterans."

Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 15:53