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Four Ways E-Prescribing Helps to Improve Medication Adherence and Reduce Errors

It’s tough to measure the accuracy and quality of paper prescriptions. But thanks to the innovation of electronic prescribing, we can now track medications digitally to see gaps and errors more clearly.

Simply put, e-prescribing has changed the way clinicians, pharmacists, and patients administer drug therapy—and we are now poised to fully leverage this technology to improve quality and reduce costs in healthcare.

However, challenges remain. Each new prescription transaction involves various elements. If not appropriately coordinated, these elements can affect patient safety, add administrative burden, and cause delays in getting medications into patients’ hands. All these obstacles can add up quickly and cause patients not to take the needed medication as intended.

Medication nonadherence alone creates up to $290 billion in avoidable healthcare costs in the U.S. each year. Pharmacists and healthcare experts have also expressed concerns that the recent COVID-19 pandemic will only make medication nonadherence a more significant problem.

We must reduce the error rate and improve efficiency in e-prescribing. Doing so will significantly improve the healthcare system’s operational performance by streamlining workflows and clarifying prescriber intent.

Through our partnership with Surescripts, MEDHOST is committed to improving e-prescription accuracy for the benefit of prescribers, pharmacists, and, most importantly, patients.

Improving the Practice of e-Prescribing

According to Surescripts, nearly two billion e-prescriptions travel across their network every year. Each e-prescription is measured for accuracy and further supplemented with quality benchmarks and reporting. These metrics provide actionable intelligence to health systems, retailers, mail-order pharmacists, and electronic health records (EHR) vendors like MEDHOST, enabling them to effectively identify problem areas and make corrections.

Surescripts has increased the accuracy of e-prescription transactions by more than 80 percent since 2016 by eliminating errors, inconsistencies, and incompleteness. In addition, they have also increased the adoption of enhanced transaction types, improving alignments with the Surescripts directory.

Error Reduction:

Mismatched drug descriptions and identifiers, such as National Drug Code (NDC) and RxNorm, put patient safety at risk. Surescripts’ ability to pinpoint these discrepancies enables MEDHOST to update their systems and ensure drug descriptions and NDC identifiers match.

Reduced Administrative Burden:

“Take one tablet by mouth two times daily” can be written in more than 800 different ways, confusing the patient, who may take the wrong dose. To further complicate matters, medications come in various forms—tablets, pills, packages—so it can be difficult for pharmacists to know the prescriber's intent.

Standardizing language (Structured and Codified Sig) helps patients avoid adverse health events and reduces the administrative burden for those working within the MEDHOST e-prescription platform. An Appropriate Potency Unit Code (PUC) built into the Surescripts integration also helps pharmacists understand prescriber intent: not one package, but one tablet, for example.

The end result: clear directions and increased speed to therapy.

Improved Efficiency:

Surescripts also helps reduce administrative burdens and increase operational efficiency by allowing prescribers to replace or modify prescriptions from inside their MEDHOST EHR workflow—rather than making phone calls and sending faxes to pharmacies.

Pharmacists can also make modification requests to prescriptions electronically and within their workflow, streamlining communication with prescribers.

In addition, EPCS (Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances) ensures a single, efficient e-prescribing workflow for all prescriptions, including opioid prescriptions.

More Digital, Less Paper:

An up-to-date and accurate directory data feed to MEDHOST from Surescripts helps to ensure that e-prescriptions are sent efficiently, without the need for phone calls and faxes. Surescripts assesses the alignment of 10 key prescriber fields in their directory and is working to increase the use of the Learning Directory among EHRs and pharmacies.

The Path To Progress

For years the industry’s focus was on moving prescriptions efficiently, safely, and reliably.

MEDHOST and Surescripts’ partnership helps bring together hundreds of individuals representing EHR vendors, pharmacies, pharmacy benefits managers, health systems, and drug compendia to improve patient care by enhancing e-prescribing accuracy and efficiency.

To learn how e-prescribing can help improve the accuracy of prescriptions and medication adherence rates at your facility, please reach out to us at or call 1.800.383.6278.


About Surescripts

Surescripts’ purpose is to serve the nation with the single most trusted and capable health information network, built to increase patient safety, lower costs and ensure quality care. Since 2001, Surescripts has led the movement to turn data into actionable intelligence, and convened the Surescripts Network Alliance® to enhance prescribing, inform care decisions and advance the healthcare industry.

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