If you receive and transmit electronic prescriptions, you’re probably aware that they conform to a standard set by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). On Jan. 1, 2020, standard 10.6 gets an upgrade — and your pharmacy management system must be ready to meet it.
QS/1’s NRx has been certified by Surescripts to send and receive electronic prescriptions and prescription-related information using the new SCRIPT Standard 2017071 from NCPDP (just for context, other NCPDP standards include HIPAA, HITECH, and Meaningful Use). Our work with Surescripts as an early adopter for the standard, more than a year before the deadline, involved intense preparation to make this an easy transition for our system users.
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Although January may seem distant in the shimmering heat of summer, you can start getting excited about the new SCRIPT standard now. The industry worked to identify areas in pharmacy workflow that could be automated electronically to remove many of the old time-consuming paper or manual processes. The SCRIPT standard changes will also mean better patient care — here’s how:
More Prescription Information
The changes specified by new SCRIPT Standard 2017071 include expansion of data fields and the addition of new message types. New fields will let prescribers pass along information that could be important to a specific e-prescription and to that patient’s health.
For example, the field for sig directions has increased roughly 10 times, to 1,000 characters. Until now, other information, such as patient allergies, has not been included in e-prescriptions and was left to pharmacies to collect and reference on patient profiles when filling prescriptions. The new and longer information fields mean you don’t have to interpret prescribers’ intent, because they can be much more specific. With the new standard, more information can be included on the e-prescription when it is sent to you.
The ability to mark some prescriptions as time-sensitive can expedite the filling process and keep particular patients from waiting. One of the SCRIPT standard’s new fields, an urgency indicator, does just that. Prioritized e-prescriptions display at the top of the queue, letting your staff know they should be filled ahead of others. The urgency indicator benefits LTC (long-term care) pharmacies, too — for example, if a patient is discharged from a facility, the local community pharmacy can be alerted that the patient in on his or her way so that medications can be prepared.
Easier Changes and Clarifications
The expansion of fields and the addition of new message types also allow you to change, cancel, or request an e-script electronically — which only makes sense, right? If information you need to accurately dispense a medication isn’t included in the original prescription, you’ll also be able to request clarification electronically.
Pharmacists accustomed to calling prescriber offices in these situations — and accustomed to waiting for a call back after they run down the answer — will appreciate the new convenience. Even if the current process only takes a few minutes, time is money, and phone tag burns it up when you’re playing multiple times a day. The new standard should get you back into the workflow faster.
Taken together, the changes should make things easier for pharmacists — something QS/1 is always focused on. “QS/1 prides itself on being an innovator,” said Kevin P. Welch, QS/1 president. “As an early adopter for Surescripts, we completed this important work in early May and are excited about deploying our solutions across the country to facilitate a smooth transition.” CT