Over the last several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for more specialized EHR platforms, which has in turn given rise to many new, smaller, highly innovative healthcare IT (HIT) companies. HIT companies providing these solutions are under tremendous pressure to both meet the specific needs of their clients and deliver on the core functionality users expect from any electronic health record – all while closely controlling costs.
Examining these market drivers as they relate to one essential element of EHR clinical workflow – electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) – is the stimulus for this article.
Self-Developed ePrescribing vs “Plug and Play” – For an EHR platform that is designed to serve the needs of specific specialties of healthcare professionals, tailoring the functionality of the EHR workflow is the most important product development priority. But in today’s competitive HIT environment, customers are not willing to sacrifice performance in core capabilities like ePrescribing for the sake of a specialized EHR.
As a result, the question for these HIT innovators is not whether to provide ePrescribing, but whether to develop their own ePrescribing functionality, or integrate with an established ePrescribing platform. To develop and roll-out any new application, in-house, is expensive and time-consuming. This is particularly the case for a technology with as many complexities as ePrescribing. The fastest, easiest, and lowest maintenance method of achieving this is establishing a direct link from the established EHR workflow to a cloud-based ePrescribing platform.
Meeting Continually Evolving Standards – One of the primary challenges HIT companies face in developing and maintaining their own ePrescribing functionality is keeping up with the rapidly evolving regulatory environment and adapting their application to remain compliant. Recent examples include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) mandate NCPDP SCRIPT 2017071 - the new standard for ePrescribing, for which compliance must be demonstrated to qualify for reimbursement starting in January 2020. This regulatory requirement will require major development effort for every ePrescribing application on the market, prior to addressing state-specific requirements for ePrescribing, federal requirement for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) by January 1, 2021, or the many other current and pending regulations. Balancing that kind of monitoring and high degree of product maintenance is a potentially major distraction from a specialty EHR company’s core capability.
Acting Confidently Amid Complexity – Healthcare providers expect more from today’s ePrescribing options than just paperless prescriptions. Their demands include prescription price information, cash pricing, real-time-benefit information (RTBI), electronic couponing, product safety information, patient assistance programs, prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) interfacing, EPCS, and other next-generation point-of-care data integration. For a specialized HIT company to effectively manage this, particularly given the risks associated with getting it wrong, is a virtual impossibility.
Veradigm™ – Transforming Health, Insightfully
Based on these and other factors, the vast majority of smaller and specialty EHR companies choose to integrate with an established ePrescribing platform to meet their customers’ electronic prescribing needs. The ePrescribing platform must be uniquely positioned to meet and surpass the requirements outlined here.
With a legacy in electronic prescribing that pre-dates the advent of EHRs, a broad range of user-friendly ePrescribing functionality employed by tens of thousands of HCPs, and hundreds of data sharing and integration industry partnerships, Veradigm delivers a unique combination of deep experience, expertise, and straightforward interoperability these HIT players need to succeed. Equally important, HIT companies know Veradigm is invested in success of their ePrescribing product, because Veradigm provides this same solution direct to providers under their own name brand.