Changes Are Coming to E-Prescribing: Here’s What You Need to Know

by | Aug 10, 2021 | Articles, Healthcare Consulting

Most healthcare professionals are deeply familiar with Surescripts, a health information network company which provides the most widely used electronic prescription database. One of the most significant features of Surescripts is its e-prescribing tool, which providers use to electronically prescribe medication via their EHR. 

Effective Sept. 1, 2021, changes will be made to Surescripts’ e-prescribing feature as part of an industry shift toward compliance with a new rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The shift will affect the way healthcare providers, pharmacists, and patients interact going forward. 

Here’s what providers and pharmacists need to know about the changes to Surescripts that are going into effect on Sept. 1, 2021: 

1. More Data Can Be Included in Patient Profiles 

This update will allow for care providers to include additional data about their patients for the pharmacist’s use. For example, healthcare providers will now be able to note a patient’s allergies, international addresses, and preferred language. The purpose of this change is that it should reduce disruptive back-and-forth between care providers and pharmacists, and the pharmacists will be better equipped with important information about the patient in advance. 

2. Compounded Prescriptions Are Now Possible 

Under the new system, providers can now include the drug names and quantities of up to 25 different ingredients in one electronic prescription. This means the electronic prescribing of compounded prescriptions is now possible. Dermatologists and other specialists who often prescribe multi-ingredient medications should greatly benefit from this update. 

3. Easier Submission of Diabetic Supply Information 

Care providers will now be able to include diabetic supply information, IV administration information, and wound care information in new prescriptions. This will help provide more detailed instructions in the prescription of diabetes-related medications, which has long been an issue in some systems. 

4. Expansion of the Sig (Patient Instructions) from 140 to 1,000 Characters 

In the new system, providers will be able to include up to 1,000 characters’ worth of information about the patient, whereas before they had only 140. This will help to reduce or eliminate confusion, delays, and misinterpretation of notes, as providers won’t have to shoehorn information into a small space with abbreviations and other unclear “shorthand” directions. 

5. Improved Canceling and Requesting Capabilities for Prescribers and Pharmacies 

With the update, providers now have the ability to electronically cancel a prescription. Additionally, pharmacies can now request prescriptions for medications they have not previously dispensed for a given patient. For example, when a patient’s insurance doesn’t cover the medication prescribed, the pharmacist can suggest a replacement electronically to the doctor. 

Also new under the update is the ability to transfer prescriptions between unrelated pharmacies. All of this will reduce the amount of time patients and practice and pharmacy staff spend exchanging phone calls. 

What Do Healthcare Providers Need to Do to Get Ready for Changes to E-Prescribing? 

Your EHR vendor should be on top of these changes already, as they need to update their systems to work under the new rules. To be sure you are in compliance – and to avoid the sudden inability to electronically prescribe come Sept. 1 – Medical Advantage recommends contacting your EHR vendor to learn more. 

Medical Advantage’s expert EHR consultants are here to help you navigate the coming changes and any other EHR issues or questions you may have. We have years of in-practice experience helping providers adapt to changes in reporting and rulings, and relationships with EHR vendors to understand the ins-and-outs of systems so we can best map them for practice workflows. For a free consultation or to speak with one of our EHR consultants, contact us today

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