SOURCE: Surescripts

November 14, 2006 08:00 ET

SureScripts® Announces New Certification Status to Recognize Physician Software and Service Providers Most Committed to Healthcare Interoperability

GoldRx™ Certification to Signal Which EMR and E-Prescribing Companies Do the Best Job of Electronically Connecting Physicians and Pharmacists for Safer, More Efficient Patient Care

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 14, 2006 -- SureScripts today announced a new certification status designed to recognize physician software and service providers that are truly advancing electronic prescribing and healthcare interoperability in the United States. SureScripts GoldRx™ certification status will be granted to electronic medical record (EMR) and e-prescribing solutions that not only have been tested and marketed as e-prescribing capable, but have a proven track record with pharmacy interoperability.

GoldRx status mandates that physician software and service providers meet a number of benchmarks for "live" customer deployments -- with new physician users and within a technology provider's existing install base. GoldRx certification also requires technology providers to implement changes to product workflow based on feedback and best practices from physicians at hundreds of practices around the country. Supporting certifications for medication history (from community pharmacy) and formulary and eligibility information (from SureScripts-certified payers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)) are also mandatory.

SureScripts will grant its first GoldRx certifications on February 27, 2007. On that day, CEOs from each organization receiving GoldRx product certification will join other healthcare leaders from across the nation at a press conference announcing the GoldRx honorees and the winners of the 2007 SafeRx™ awards.* The event will coincide with the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in New Orleans.

"Granting physician software and service providers a uniform certification for pharmacy interoperability is no longer adequate," said Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO of SureScripts. "SureScripts and many health IT experts believe that the electronic link between a physician and a pharmacist is the most critical and the most achievable first step toward broader healthcare interoperability. In an effort to separate the promise of automation from actual implementation, SureScripts GoldRx certification will now spotlight which software vendors have taken the appropriate and necessary steps to connect physicians and pharmacists in communities across the nation. For physicians making an investment in the safety of their patients, the efficiency of their practice and the quality of their own clinical decision-making, GoldRx certification will help them know which software vendors are actually delivering on pharmacy interoperability and other critical levels of automation."

Over the past two years, SureScripts has tested and certified the applications of every major e-prescribing and electronic medical record (EMR) vendor in the U.S. More than 70 technology providers -- representing over 150,000 existing physician users -- have contracted with SureScripts to enable their software and services to exchange prescription information with local pharmacies. Clinics and physicians that use SureScripts Certified Solutions™ have the ability to connect to the pharmacy industry and, as a result, have an unprecedented ability to improve the prescribing process. (Physicians can go to www.surescripts.com to check an EMR or e-prescribing vendor's pharmacy interoperability status.)

Today, however, the vast majority of these 150,000 physicians are still using older versions of their vendor's software -- versions that have no electronic connection with pharmacy. The result: new prescriptions are sent and received by fax; refill requests are processed by phone and fax; patient medication history from community pharmacy is unavailable; and there is incomplete patient formulary and eligibility information. GoldRx certification gives special status to those vendors who find this situation unacceptable -- and are doing something about it.

As such, the criteria for SureScripts GoldRx certification status focuses less on product compliance with technical standards and much more on benchmarks that signal a vendor's commitment to interoperability, customer support and successful customer implementations:

--  Customer Education - GoldRx companies must spend a defined amount of
    resources raising awareness among their physician customers of the
    opportunity to communicate new prescription and refill information with
    pharmacists electronically.
    
--  Proven Pharmacy Interoperability - GoldRx companies must make pharmacy
    interoperability part of every new client installation and add or upgrade a
    specified number of physicians to the SureScripts network.
    
--  Pharmacy Health Information Exchange - GoldRx vendors must enable
    their application to receive medication history from community pharmacy and
    formulary/eligibility services from the payers and PBMs certified by
    SureScripts.
    
--  Workflow Enhancements and Customer Support - An organization receiving
    GoldRx product certification has committed to continually improve the
    quality of the prescribing process through execution of a mutual agreement
    that outlines specific service level commitments related to operations of
    the SureScripts network.
    
SureScripts is already working with vendors on pursuing the steps necessary to qualify for GoldRx certification. Technology providers seeking more information about GoldRx certification can contact Mary Martin at 703-921-5221 or mary.martin@surescripts.com.

* Sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and SureScripts®, the SafeRx award goes to each of the top 10 e-prescribing states in the nation and to physicians who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their use of e-prescribing technology.

About SureScripts

SureScripts®, the largest network provider of electronic prescribing services, is committed to building relationships within the health care community and working collaboratively with key industry stakeholders and organizations to improve the safety, efficiency and quality of health care by improving the overall prescribing process. At the core of this improvement effort is the SureScripts Electronic Prescribing Network™, a health care infrastructure which establishes electronic communications between pharmacists and physicians and enables the two-way electronic exchange of prescription information. Today, more than 90 percent of all pharmacies in the United States are certified on the SureScripts network. More information about SureScripts is available at www.surescripts.com.

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