Medication History: Why is it Needed?

Medication History: Why is it Needed?

Physicians frequently report that correctly identifying a patient’s current medication regimen is crucial in providing treatment, and they often cite challenges in accessing this important information. As hospitals and physicians are held to increasingly high standards for quality of care and patient outcomes, the demand grows for any information that may improve care. Numerous studies have documented the dangers of adverse drug events (ADEs) and medical errors and the relationship between patient outcomes and timely access to quality data. Each year, 770,000 patients experience ADEs that result in injury or even death, and 40 percent of medication errors result from inadequate medication reconciliation procedures.1

Current data-sharing agreements allow care providers to request pharmacy data for three specific use cases at different points in the care continuum.

  • Ambulatory use case: allows care providers to use pharmacy data to electronically prescribe medications more safely and efficiently.
  • Medication reconciliation use case: allows care providers to use pharmacy data to more effectively perform medication reconciliation in acute inpatient settings.
  • Panel management use case: allows care organizations to use pharmacy data to manage the health of their patient populations (ex: conduct more effective analytics to triage populations, identify gaps in care, target interventions, potentially avoid Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services penalties and reduce the overall cost of care).

Surescripts Data Sharing

One health system, after enabling the Surescripts’ data sharing service, reported that their Emergency Department was successful in identifying an additional 2.4 critical medications on average for patients admitted into their facilities. Another health system reported saving 20 minutes per patient when conducting medication reconciliation. By accessing medication history information, providers were able to make more efficient and informed decisions that improved patient care.

Surescripts has a strong commitment to security and transmits medication information based on strict data use case parameters. Medication history can only be sent to a qualified recipient that is a healthcare provider that can be identified as eligible to receive medication history. The vendor’s security and technical requirements are validated through a certification process as well. In addition, data must be stored on a separate partitioned server and end users are authenticated. Surescripts’ auditing process ensures that vendors are using the data appropriately, and if necessary, contracts are terminated based on violations.

Why Participate?

  • Pharmacies that share data in Surescripts’ medication history data service play a critical role in driving better care for their patients and customers.
  • Care providers consistently express the need for this data and have proven to be very eager to collaborate with pharmacies that choose to share their data. Care providers have also proven to take a negative view of pharmacies that elect not to make their data available for care purposes.
  • Surescripts and QS/1 pay pharmacies a revenue share for participation in this service.

Surescripts has been acting as a conduit for sharing patients’ medication history data between pharmacies and care providers for many years. Today, over 30,000 pharmacy locations have agreed to share their data with thousands of care providers using Surescripts’ infrastructure. Since 2015, QS/1 has been in partnership with Surescripts to allow participation from their customers who opted into the program. Surescripts and QS/1 work together to offer valuable services that keep pharmacies connected within the healthcare industry to provide the best possible patient care.

1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Reducing and Preventing Adverse Drug Events to Decrease Hospital Costs, Publication #01-00.

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