New eRx certification promotes pharmacy interoperability

By  Richard Pizzi, Associate Editor Healthcare IT News

ALEXANDRIA, VA – SureScripts, the largest network provider of electronic prescribing services in the United States, has announced that it will grant a new certification status to electronic medical record and e-prescribing products that meet or exceed benchmarks for “live” customer deployments.

The new certification, called GoldRx, guarantees that an EMR or e-prescribing product not only meets basic technical capability standards, but also has a “proven track record” of pharmacy interoperability.

“Granting physician software and service providers a uniform certification for pharmacy interoperability is no longer adequate,” said Kevin Hutchinson, president and CEO of SureScripts, in a statement. “GoldRx certification will now spotlight which software vendors have taken the appropriate and necessary steps to connect physicians and pharmacists in communities across the nation.”

As Hutchinson noted, the SureScripts criteria for GoldRx certification emphasize concrete steps a vendor must take toward interoperability. GoldRx-certified companies must make pharmacy interoperability part of every new client installation and add or upgrade a specified number of physicians to the SureScripts network. Certified vendors must also enable their application to receive medication history from community pharmacy and formulary/eligibility services from the payers and pharmacy benefit managers certified by SureScripts.

“GoldRx certification will help [physicians] know which software vendors are actually delivering on pharmacy interoperability and other critical levels of automation,” said Hutchinson.

GoldRx criteria also include measures encouraging increased customer education and support. Certified companies must commit to spending a defined amount of money on the education of physicians about the exchange of prescription information with local pharmacies.

More than 70 vendors have contracted with SureScripts to enable their applications to link electronically with pharmacies. According to SureScripts, however, a “vast majority” of physicians using these EMRs and e-prescribing tools employ older versions of the software with no electronic connection with a pharmacy.

SureScripts will grant its first GoldRx certifications in February 2007, to coincide with the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in New Orleans.

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