SOURCE: Surescripts

April 18, 2007 09:00 ET

SureScripts Statement Regarding HHS Final Report on 2006 MMA E-Prescribing Pilots

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 18, 2007 -- SureScripts® applauds the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their leadership in successfully organizing, executing and reporting the outcomes from nationwide tests of the technical standards that enable electronic prescribing. Conducted across five pilot sites, the validation and information from these tests will further support the federal government's efforts to modernize Medicare.

SureScripts fully agrees with the findings that three technical standards -- for medication history, formulary and benefits and prescription fill status notification -- are ready to be implemented as part of the Medicare Part D drug benefit plan. The addition of these three standards -- currently in production as part of the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, operated by SureScripts -- to the already implemented foundation standards for new prescriptions and refill requests will represent a major milestone in the nation's progress toward a more efficient, safe and interoperable system of health care.

"The MMA-mandated pilots have clearly demonstrated that the core technical standards for e-prescribing -- the same ones used today by physicians and pharmacists across the country -- do indeed work," said SureScripts President and CEO Kevin Hutchinson, who is also a commissioner on the Department of Health and Human Services' American Health Information Community. "But our task is far from complete. Working together, we must now take what was learned in the pilots and use that knowledge to fine-tune how physicians, pharmacists and technology providers implement these standards. While the standards' functionality has been proven, there is more work to be done to improve workflow and more fully automate a prescribing process that puts life-preserving medications into the hands of patients over three billion times each year. Electronic prescribing provides proven benefits to physicians, pharmacies, payers and patients, but changing an over 100-year-old paper-based process will happen neither overnight nor without hurdles."

As the operator of the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, SureScripts has already taken steps to ensure the widespread deployment of e-prescribing best practices derived from its participation in the MMA pilots and from its ongoing operations as the nation's largest provider of e-prescribing services.

For example, in November 2006, SureScripts launched an advanced certification program designed to recognize physician technology providers that have gone beyond product compliance with technical standards. GoldRx™ and PlatinumRx™ certification status is granted to vendors who implement best practices in customer education, advanced medication management messaging and application workflow, and who have demonstrable expertise with active prescribers.

On the pharmacy side, SureScripts is working closely with the nation's community pharmacies on a number of programs designed to optimize pharmacy computer systems and training programs for electronic prescribing that yield the widest possible gains in prescribing safety, efficiency and overall quality.

Moving forward, SureScripts also looks forward to the opportunity to continue the development of other important standards for prior authorization and patient instructions ("Structured and codified SIG") as well as a unified standard for drug names, forms and dosages ("RxNorm").

About SureScripts

Founded by the pharmacy industry in 2001, SureScripts® operates the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, which facilitates the secure electronic transmission of prescription information between physicians and pharmacists and provides access to lifesaving information about patients during emergencies or routine care. Today, more than 95 percent of all pharmacies and all major physician technology vendors in the United States are certified on the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange. More information about SureScripts is available at www.surescripts.com.

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