SOURCE: Surescripts

Surescripts

October 15, 2009 10:00 ET

Surescripts® to Adopt Technical Standard to Support Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records

The Nation's E-Prescription Network™ Will Be Ready to Certify Vendor Software to Support NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 Standard

ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwire - October 15, 2009) - Surescripts, The Nation's E-Prescription Network™, today announced it will adopt a new version of a technical standard that federal regulators are recommending as part of a $19 billion incentive program designed to encourage greater use of electronic health records (EHRs). The standard -- referred to by industry participants as "NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6" -- allows physicians using electronic health record software to electronically access prescription information from pharmacies and health plans while also making use of electronic prescriptions or "e-prescriptions."

The announcement coincides with this week's Surescripts Participant Workshop, where 176 executives and technical staff from 65 of the nation's leading retail pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, health plans and software vendors are gathered to discuss and plan the technology strategy that is driving the nation's move from paper prescriptions to e-prescriptions.*

"Surescripts and the nation's e-prescribing leaders support the federal government's efforts to define and drive meaningful use of electronic health records," said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. "E-prescriptions are a clear example of how EHRs can provide meaningful improvements in cost, quality and safety. We are collaborating with the nation's software vendors, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans to support the new version of the standard and ensure its rapid implementation."

Assuming the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services adopts the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT 10.6 as a standard under the MMA, on May 1, 2010, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans along with makers of electronic health record software can begin the process of certifying and then deploying their systems to support the Surescripts implementation of the NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 standard.

The standard will allow physicians and other prescribers using software certified by Surescripts to continue a secure, electronic link to the Surescripts network and thousands of retail pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans nationwide. With patient consent, this link will allow physicians and other prescribers to continue to access their patients' prescription histories. Prescribers using the standard can also use the Surescripts network to send e-prescriptions to any of 51,000 retail pharmacies (representing 84 percent of all retail pharmacies in the United States) and six of the largest mail order pharmacies.

In June of this year, the HIT Policy Committee -- an advisory arm of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology -- proposed that the capabilities enabled by the NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 implementation be included in a larger set of capabilities aimed at defining what is termed "meaningful use" of an electronic health record. Beginning in 2011, the federal government will make incentives available to physicians caring for both Medicare and Medicaid patients based on this definition. The incentives fall under the HITECH provisions within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.**

In July of this year, the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics recommended that the federal government support the NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 standard within the Medicare Part D e-prescribing initiative.***

"Surescripts and the industry will be ready to support the final ruling from CMS," said Totonis. "The Nation's E-Prescription Network and industry leaders nationwide will ensure a smooth and successful migration from the old version of the standard to the new."

* For a full list of software certified for prescribers, go to http://www.surescripts.com/certified. To view a full list of the payers, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies connected to the Surescripts network, go to www.surescripts.com/connected-pharmacies.html.

** For more information, go to http://healthit.hhs.gov/.

*** For more information, go to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics at http://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/.

About Surescripts

Surescripts, The Nation's E-Prescription Network, gives health care providers secure, electronic access to prescription and health information that can save their patients' lives, improve efficiency and reduce the cost of health care for all. Available during emergencies or routine care, the Surescripts network connects prescribers in all 50 states through their choice of e-prescribing software to the nation's leading payers, chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies. Through its work in standards, certification, education and collaboration at the national, regional and state levels, Surescripts and its network have become the backbone that facilitates e-prescribing. For more information, go to www.surescripts.com.

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