New Surescripts service aims to speed process for prescribing specialty meds

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Surescripts is taking steps to automate the forms required for specialty medications and integrating them into the e-prescribing process.

The company, which operates a national health information network, has a new service, called Specialty Patient Enrollment, which automates the specialty prescribing process. Instead of filling out paper forms before authorizations, which takes time and keeps patients waiting, information can be automatically populated using data already in providers’ electronic health record systems.

When combined with access to patient-specific prescription price information and the ability to process prior authorizations electronically, Surescripts contends the new service also reduces administrative delays and helps patients get medications faster.

“By bringing the three critical aspects of the prescribing process together—the cost, the prior authorization and the enrollment form—we are addressing a major challenge in the industry and helping prescribers and pharmacists get needed specialty medications to patients faster,” says Tom Skelton, Surescripts’ CEO.

Current processes require physicians to fill out long paper forms and typically involve faxes and phone calls to manage prior authorization requests and approvals.

Several electronic health records and other vendors have signed up for the new Surescripts service—among them are Cerner, eMDs, NEMO Health, NewCrop, Office Ally, Quest Diagnostics, RXNT and STI, as well as specialty pharmacies such as Accredo, Kroger, Assist Rx, CareMetx and PharmaCord.

“Innovation that keeps clinicians off the phone and in their workflow saves significant time and resources in a part of the market that’s concerned about rising healthcare and prescription costs,” says Neil Simon, chief operating officer at eMDs, an EHR vendor.

Patient solution organizations, known as specialty hubs, also play a role by ensuring patients get the specialty medications they need. By leveraging data and serving as a point of contact for patients and providers, the hubs help manage patient populations and increase access to specialty drugs.

Another strong focus is the issue of patient adherence to their medication regimen, says Jeff Spafford, CEO at AssistRx, which connects pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturers to prescribers, patients and other types of providers. Spafford believes that healthcare providers want intelligent tools implemented into their workflow to help patients get on prescribed therapy faster and stay on therapy.

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