Surescripts seeks to ease patient costs, physician hassles

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Surescripts, a vendor of secure messaging and electronic prescribing software, has expanded its product line over the years to offer prior authorization transactions and patient medication and clinical history summaries.

Today, 90 percent of standard prescriptions and 14 percent of controlled substance prescriptions are processed electronically, and the company moves 4.8 million scripts daily, or almost 2 billion a year, says CEO Tom Skelton.

Now, the company has a new focus to not only provide connectivity but improve the accuracy of prescriptions. New this year is a product called Surescripts Sentinel that monitors scripts by checking 35 “pain points” to assure accuracy.

Those 35 checks have found several points of failure that slow the process of getting prescriptions to patients who need them, and those issues present tremendous headaches for pharmacists and prescribing physicians, according to Skelton. “We eliminate 50 million conversations with pharmacists and prescribers monthly.”

Surescripts does this cleanup work in concert with electronic health records vendors, as most electronic prescriptions originate in the EHR. If Surescripts finds inaccuracies in a prescription, it alerts the appropriate EHR vendor to fix it.

Also See: 14 more systems now using Surescripts record locator service

In an era where healthcare services continue to be cost-prohibitive for many patients, Surescripts also has launched a price transparency program, working with EHR vendors, insurers and pharmacy benefit management firms.

The company is giving providers data from insurance companies showing patient co-pays and out-of-pocket costs. Armed with this knowledge, providers can consider appropriate treatment options that best comply with the patient’s insurance formulary and also talk with patients about alternatives such as generic medications.

A major side effect of rising costs is a decline in medication adherence among patients struggling to handle healthcare costs, Skelton said. “If copays rise, adherence declines, and that affects clinical efficacy and patient outcomes. Specialty medications are more expensive and growing rapidly—patients need to know the alternatives.”

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