Robert Kneschke -

New Surescripts Health IT Features Set to Enhance Patient Matching

Health IT vendor Surescripts has released new patient matching features that officials say will help improve care management.

Health IT vendor Surescripts has introduced new patient matching features through its master patient index that are expected to enhance the patient and provider experience.

The vendor's master patient index supports health IT tools for electronic prior authorization, medication history, real-time prescription benefits, and more.

The Surescripts master patient index has relied on a proprietary matching algorithm since 2001. Newly added patient matching features will supplement the algorithm with patient reference records, including demographic data such as name, name changes, date of birth, and current and prior addresses.

The enhancements helped the vendor identify additional data for as many as 400,000 patients in one day. Additionally, the features helped populate 2.2 percent more medications across all Surescripts medication history responses in March 2022.

"In the past two years, there have been dramatic shifts in employment, people's locations, insurance coverage, health conditions, behavioral needs, and more," Tom Skelton, Surescripts chief executive officer, noted in a public statement.

"With new enhancements to our master patient index, we can address more of these increasingly complex societal and demographic changes and give providers and care managers more accurate insights into a patient's care and medication history," Skelton said.

An increased patient match rate can help support informed patient-provider conversations when prescribing or dispensing medication. Additionally, officials said that improving the rate of effectively-matched patient clinical history benefits care management.

"Surescripts is helping the industry respond positively to changing patient and care dynamics," said Andrew Mellin, MD, Surescripts vice president & chief medical information officer.

"When a provider has a more comprehensive view of a patient's medication history, they are able to optimize the medication reconciliation process and have more informed conversations with patients, which improves patient safety and drives better patient outcomes," Mellin said.

The Surescripts master patient index includes secure patient data for more than 99 percent of American patients. Surescripts Network Alliance participants such as pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies fuel the index with authorized patient and member information.

In 2021, stakeholders used the health IT vendor’s master patient index to inform more than two billion patient medication histories. The tool also helped inform nearly four billion care events and delivered more than 422 million Real-Time Prescription Benefit responses at the point of care.

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