Surescripts advances nationwide healthcare interoperability with implementation of National Record Locator Service

Surescripts, a health information network, will implement its National Record Locator Service with electronic health record (EHR) vendors eClinicalWorks, Epic, and Greenway Health, enabling more than 480,000 providers to utilize the technology to locate and exchange patient health records stored in any healthcare location across the country. CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), supports this and all efforts to improve physician connectivity to vital records.

“Today marks a major milestone in our collective effort to connect the nation’s healthcare system and enable interoperability between disparate parts of our healthcare community,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer, Surescripts. “By leveraging the assets and existing infrastructure we built for e-prescribing, we are able to quickly scale true interoperability on a national basis to save time and money, and ultimately improve the patient experience.”

Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service will be implemented according to the Carequality framework for inter-network health information exchange, consisting of legal agreements that enforce the responsibilities in Carequality’s Principles of Trust, and implementation guides that outline business and technical requirements.

“We’re very pleased that Surescripts and their partners have chosen to implement a Record Locator Service within the Carequality framework,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO, Healtheway. “By connecting existing data sharing networks, the Carequality framework can bring together large numbers of physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare settings. It provides instant scale for efforts like this one, and the beauty of it is that it’s open; other Record Locator Services can also implement within the framework. The framework allows for both interoperability and choice.”

The Surescripts National Record Locator Service is a federated query and response solution that integrates into the provider workflow through existing EHR software. The first-of-its-kind capability leverages the Surescripts nationwide network and Master Patient Index of more than 230 million patients to locate and exchange patient records and give clinicians a fast and easy way to obtain a more complete view of a patient’s health history, without relying on a patient’s recollections of their medical history.

“Having the ability to locate patient records within one integrated workflow would help to improve health care quality and lower costs,” said Troyen A. Brennan M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “The result would be a more connected and integrated health care system with patients at the center on their path to better health.”

The Surescripts network gives providers the ability to find a patient’s records when and where they need it most. With connections between 60,000 pharmacies, 900,000 healthcare professionals, 3,000 hospitals, and 700 EHR applications, more than 7 billion secure, electronic transactions, including prescriptions, referrals, discharges, visit summaries, immunization notifications, and radiology reports, crossed the Surescripts network in 2014.    

“Consumers of care should be empowered to also be custodians of their care,” said Girish Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks. “The work we have done with industry leaders shows technology is the impetus to making exchange of information a reality. These results stem directly from a shared focus on what is truly important, which is helping providers deliver the best care possible to their patients.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 percent of preventable medical errors are caused by the lack of immediate access to health information, and one out of every seven primary care visits is impacted by missing medical information. Interoperability is defined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as the ability of systems to exchange and use electronic health information from other systems without special effort on the part of the user. In order to realize true healthcare IT interoperability, a number of challenges must be overcome, including patient identification, record locating, document sharing, and clinical care documentation.

“Leveraging Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service, we can offer our customers an enormous leap in search and record location capabilities,” said Carl Dvorak, President, Epic. “We look forward to partnering with other payors, vendors and provider organizations to make it easier to find and aggregate patient medical records, regardless of where they have received care, all while ensuring the highest level of security, privacy and patient consent.”

Today, interoperability is more critical than ever, as patients become more mobile, premier health systems are increasingly drawing patients from across the country, value-based purchasing is driving the need for greater efficiency, and hospitals and health systems seek new ways of sharing patient information while maintaining data security.

“We broadly support the need for this type of expansive national record locator service,” said Tee Green, CEO, Greenway Health. “This is the type of game changing initiative the industry, and especially patients, needs to help us resolve the challenges of interoperability to improve care coordination and remove waste from the nation’s healthcare system.”

The Surescripts National Record Locator Service will be demonstrated in the Interoperability Showcase and in the Healtheway booth (#8448 North) at HIMSS15, April 13-16 in Chicago.  To learn more, visit the Surescripts booth (#1878) to attend a product information session, “Finding Patient Records to Drive More Informed Care,” on Tuesday, April 14 from 2:30pm to 3:15pm and on Wednesday, April 15 from 12:45pm to 1:30pm.

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