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    Surescripts Takes Aim at Improving e-Prescribing Accuracy

    New monitoring system identifies problems with e-prescription systems.

    Surescripts has introduced Sentinel, a new monitoring service designed to measure the accuracy of electronic prescriptions and deliver “insights to pharmacists, prescribers, and technology vendors.”

    The health information network, based in Arlington, VA, said that the service, “will raise the bar for patient safety, care quality, and workflow efficiency by pinpointing specific areas for improvement and providing analysis of electronic prescribing trends to inform better patient care.”

    Sentinel links multiple data sources, including the Surescripts network; drug compendia, including First Databank; and the National Library of Medicine “to provide actionable intelligence that is accurate, scalable, timely, and detailed.” The information can be used to validate ongoing data quality improvements; identify opportunities to improve process efficiency; track e-prescribing utilization to identify trends and patterns; and inform research, white papers, and clinical information.

    DeAnn MullinsDeAnn MullinsDeAnn Mullins, BPharm, President of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), told Drug Topics that community pharmacies have struggled for years having to catch and clean-up bad information sent to them in e-prescriptions, information that is often due to incompatibilities from the prescriber’s system. Mullins gave an example: some electronic prescriptions might have nonsensical drug administration directions like “Inhale 2 puffs daily in each ear.”

    Related article: E-Prescribing: The end of prescription errors? Hardly

    “Surescripts’ new Sentinel system will help to correct those inaccuracies before they reach the pharmacy, so pharmacists can spend more of their time caring for patients,” Mullins said.

    “Surescripts Sentinel will deliver prescription intelligence to avoid time-consuming and potentially dangerous e-prescribing errors and help improve the accuracy of more than 1 billion e-prescriptions each year,” Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts told Drug Topics. He added, “together with hundreds of our industry partners, we are setting a new standard for e-prescribing quality that will have a direct and positive impact on patients, prescribers and pharmacists.”

    In developing Sentinel, Surescripts officials said that they identified and validated 11 major problem areas based on input from hundreds of prescribers, pharmacists, technology vendors, and drug compendia. These “pain points,” Surescripts said, include ensuring that prescriber intent and patient directions are clear and that standard drug descriptions match the identifiers. Surescripts said that it has developed action plans to address each of these pain points and established quality metrics to help track progress with ongoing quality improvements. 

    Anthony Vecchione
    Anthony Vecchione is Executive Editor of Drug Topics.

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