Alexandria, Va.-based Surescripts soon will support the exchange of clinical information over its national electronic prescribing network that presently connects more than 50,000 pharmacies in all 50 states with 200,000 prescribers and supports more than 200 electronic health records vendors.

Surescripts will offer the clinical messaging component of its network to providers on a subscription basis; e-prescribing will continue to be free to providers. Pricing for the clinical service has not been finalized. It could be a mix of providers paying subscription fees, or EHR vendors or HIEs paying the fee for those they serve.

The company has made an undisclosed investment in clinical messaging software vendor Kryptiq Corp., Beaverton, Ore., and will use the vendor's applications. Kryptiq presently serves about 40,000 physicians.

Surescripts' move to essentially become a privately owned national health information network that will connect to other networks follows two years of testing clinical data exchange with more than 500 MinuteClinics in CVS pharmacy stores. MinuteClinic nurse practitioners exchange nearly 50,000 patient summaries a month with their patients' physicians, according to the companies.

Surescripts already supports interoperability standards of the NHIN Direct Project and NHIN Exchange initiatives, as well as Health Level Seven, Continuity of Care Record and Continuity of Care Document messages. "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," David Kibble, M.D., senior advisor at the American Academy of Family Physicians, said in a statement.

Surescripts, using Kryptiq's messaging applications, will offer three clinical networking options:

* Net2Net Connect, which will enable health information exchanges and delivery systems to connect to Surescripts and receive and send clinical information outside their networks, available in December 2010.

* Message Stream, which is a suite of secure messaging tools to enable physicians to exchange clinical information, available in December 2010.

* Clinical Message Portal, intended for providers that do not have an EHR to send and receive clinical messages, available in January 2011.

More information is available at surescripts.com/transform.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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