Posted in HIX

Surescripts report underscores the spread of interoperability

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Surescripts report underscores the spread of interoperability

National health information network Surescripts reports strong growth last year in health data transactions, an encouraging sign that interoperability is becoming more widespread.

In its 2017 National Progress Report, Surescripts said the national network facilitated 13.7 billion secure health data transactions in 2017, a healthy 26 percent gain over the 10.9 billion transactions in the previous year and more than twice the 6 billion transactions in 2013.

More specifically, the Surescripts network last year handled:

  • 1.74 billion e-prescriptions
  • 1.46 billion medication histories
  • 25.9 million clinical direct messages
  • 3.8 million prescription cancellations
  • 3.1 million real-time prescription benefit transactions

"The Surescripts Network Alliance continued to make remarkable progress in 2017, signaling that healthcare interoperability is indeed happening today," Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a statement.

The alliance last year launched an initiative to improve service quality. The Critical Performance Improvement program resulted in a 26 percent increase in prescription accuracy over 2016, the annual report said.

Surescripts also leveraged its network last year to aid in the fight against opioid abuse. Electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) increased 71 percent over 2016 as more providers adopted e-prescribing.

Noting the increasing number of states moving to mandate electronic prescribing for controlled substances or opioids, the report concludes that “as these laws move forward, we can expect to see major gains in prescriber enablement and utilization of EPCS.”

Since forming in 2008, the Surescripts Network Alliance has grown to include 1.47 million healthcare professionals who are able to access health data for 233 million patients, or 71 percent of the U.S. population. Members of the Surescripts alliance include clinicians, hospitals, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, and technology vendors.