Getty Images

Surescripts Unveils Latest Health Data Exchange, Interoperability Gains

Surescripts facilitated 21 billion secure health data exchange transactions in 2022, marking a significant milestone toward interoperability

The Surescripts 2022 National Progress Report highlights significant gains in advancing interoperability, something the organization said is key amidst ongoing challenges such as provider burnout, staffing shortages, and rising costs, with continued year-over-year improvements in health data exchange.

“While there is no single solution to the challenges facing healthcare today, we have billions of reasons for hope that come with every exchange of secure patient information,” Frank Harvey, chief executive officer of Surescripts, said in a press release. “I’m inspired every day when I see the ways the Surescripts Network Alliance is coming together to solve healthcare’s shared challenges with shared health intelligence—and making significant headway toward better, safer, less costly care in America.”

Over 2 million healthcare providers exchanged patient data more than 21.7 billion times through Surescripts, while its Master Patient Index represented 99 percent of the US population, according to the latest report.

“In 2022, we worked across the Network Alliance to continually raise the bar for access, security and performance,” Surescripts wrote in the report. “Connecting nearly all electronic health records (EHR) vendors, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies and clinicians—plus health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations, analytics vendors and specialty pharmacy organizations—the Network Alliance grew larger and exchanged more health intelligence than ever in 2022.”

The report uncovered that an expanding number of clinicians and organizations are utilizing the Carequality interoperability framework via the Record Locator & Exchange platform. This platform has enabled over 250,000 clinicians from 31,314 organizations across all 50 states to locate and exchange more than 100 million clinical documents monthly. As a result, in 2022, the number of clinical documents exchanged exceeded 1 billion, representing 30 percent of Carequality's average monthly exchange activity.

Clinical Direct Messaging experienced an uptick in usage, with 823,000 individuals and organizations (including over 23,000 pharmacies) utilizing the HIPAA-compliant exchange of protected health information. The platform also remained a critical tool for public health efforts by transmitting 23,390,617 electronic case reports to public health agencies.

Additionally, Surescripts delivered over 2.54 million medication histories, which has helped healthcare teams and managers avoid adverse drug events and readmissions by providing a more comprehensive overview of prescribed and dispensed medications, the vendor stated.

Meanwhile, more than half of prescribers on the Surescripts network utilized its medication pricing feature in 2022. This comes as medication affordability is a critical issue for many patients in the United States.

Additionally, nearly 700,000 prescribers used the Real-Time Prescription Benefit tool to save patients an average of $61 on traditional prescriptions and $428 on specialty medications in the same year.

In addition to promoting medication affordability, Surescripts said it has also been actively working to improve medication safety through ePrescribing. ePrescribing has proven to be a more efficient tool for prescriber/pharmacist communication, reducing the likelihood of errors that can impact patient safety.

The number of prescribers utilizing ePrescribing grew by 7.9 percent in 2022, reaching 1.23 million, and virtually all pharmacies in the United States are now using this system. The 2022 report from Surescripts also revealed that 2.34 billion prescriptions were filled electronically. These figures highlight the increasing adoption and benefits of Health IT systems in improving patient safety, affordability, and medication access.

“Patients with cost concerns may cut or skip doses—if they pick up their prescriptions. If the medication requires prior authorization, they and their care providers must hope the process doesn’t hit a snag,” Surescript officials wrote. “The burdens of worry and rework become far lighter when prescribers and pharmacists can see prescription cost and coverage information throughout the care journey. By providing access to patient-specific information and the power to efficiently handle—or avoid—prior authorizations electronically, the Network Alliance is helping head off nonadherence before it starts.”

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Interoperability in healthcare

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing