- Surescripts’ 2016 National Progress Report shows a big bump in volume of electronic prescriptions delivered over its network. E-prescriptions numbered 1.6 billion last year, or 180,000 per hour — up 12% from 1.4 billion in 2015, the company said.
- Overall, Surescripts recorded 10.9 billion transactions in 2016, including more than 1.08 billion medication history transactions made available to providers at the point of care and patient visits by more than 43 million patients to more than 165,000 healthcare professionals.
- Surescripts’ interoperable network connected 1.3 million clinicians with personal health information for 230 million Americans, or nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population, according to the report.
The results point to progress in efforts to improve interoperability in healthcare. It’s still a work in progress — real interoperability connecting disparate IT systems — but providers increasingly see it as crucial for a networked world.
Thought leaders like former National Coordinator for Health IT Vindell Washington have suggested industry-wide interoperability will occur when adoption hits a tipping point. As more data points are collected and more care takes place outside the hospital, the ability will also grow to connect the dots at both the individual and population health level.
The ONC has also touted the use of electronic prescriptions in general, saying they increase patient satisfaction and can also reduce fraud and abuse costs.
While the Meaningful Use program showed the value of interoperability for interoperability’s sake, healthcare leaders are now starting to see potential downstream benefits as well, Brian Levy, vice president of global clinical operations and product management at Wolters Kluwer, told Healthcare Dive in March. The questions should now be “What do we do with the data?” and “How do we realize the benefits of the data when we share it?” he said.
In a release accompanying the report, Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said the company is expanding beyond e-prescribing to also support patient-specific authorization, benefits and cost information. “The progress we’re seeing reinforces the value we’re delivering by increasing patient safety, lowering costs and ensuring quality care,” he said.