Direct Messaging Boosts Interoperability For COVID-19 Vaccination

Pharmacists have used Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging to send over seven million COVID-19 vaccination notifications to primary care providers.

Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging has played a vital role in the country’s COVID-19 vaccination effort by boosting interoperability between pharmacies and primary care providers.

Since December 2020, pharmacies have used the health IT to send over seven million COVID-19 vaccination notifications to primary care providers.

This electronic data exchange sets to reduce the need for pharmacies to fax paper forms or depend on patients to notify their PCP themselves about their COVID-19 vaccination status.  

"Participants across the Surescripts Network Alliance continue to find innovative ways to leverage existing technology to answer the nation’s call for help with COVID-19," Tom Skelton, chief executive officer of Surescripts, said in a press release.

"The increased adoption of interoperable technology like Clinical Direct Messaging helps facilitate the seamless and secure exchange of patient health information, delivering actionable patient intelligence when and where it’s needed most,” he continued.

The vendor’s direct messaging functionality is integrated directly into EHR and pharmacy software workflows, allowing clinicians and pharmacists to exchange information across the care continuum.

In February, President Biden announced the first phase of the federal pharmacy program to distribute vaccines directly to retail pharmacies nationwide. Many pharmacies, such as Albertsons and CVS Health, integrated clinical direct messaging into their workflows to improve data exchange for PCP immunization notifications.

“We are committed to our customers and communities to deliver timely healthcare solutions, including administering COVID-19 vaccinations,” Omer Gajial, Albertsons Companies senior vice president of Pharmacy and Health, said in the press release. “We have administered over 5.5 million COVID-19 doses and used Surescripts direct messaging service to report many of them to our customers’ primary care providers.”

“We encourage customers to visit our pharmacies for their COVID-19 vaccination and other health issues, knowing we have solutions like Surescripts in place to help in their wellness journey,” Gajial continued.

Health systems have also leveraged the health IT solution to improve interoperability with public health agencies during the pandemic. Since February 2020, 41 health systems have leveraged Surecripts Direct Secure Messaging to send over 12 million electronic case reports for COVID-19 diagnoses to public health agencies in 64 jurisdictions.

“It’s clear that innovation and interoperability have accelerated as care providers nationwide battled the pandemic,” said Scott Stuewe, president and CEO of DirectTrust, the alliance responsible for the security and trust framework enabling the robust Direct Secure Messaging network.

Built using the Direct Standard, Surescripts is accredited under the DirectTrust Accreditation program which recognizes organizations who have met policy requirements and validated HIPAA, privacy, and security compliance standards.

“The Direct Standard has been put to the test and is helping expand interoperability to fulfill the potential of care management and value-based care programs, bringing timely and secure patient insights into focus for clinicians and organizations across the country,” Stuewe explained.

The use cases for direct secure messaging go beyond COVID-19 efforts.

Last year, over 745,000 individuals and organizations used Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging to streamline care transitions, implement collaborative practice agreements, send referral and consultation notes, improve medication management, address controlled substance abuse, and attain federal incentives that require secure electronic messaging.

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