AAFP Partners With Surescripts On A New, Secure Electronic Messaging Service For Physicians


Here’s an extraordinary development in the ongoing efforts to break down the barriers of a lack of interoperability standards and incompatible technologies!

The American Academy of Family Physicians has partnered with Surescripts, a firm that connects physicians with drug prescribing services, to announce a new collaboration, AAFP Physicians Direct, that will allow the AAFP’s physician members to easily and securely exchange information electronically.

The service is built on the Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability, and is part of a larger to help “physicians more easily and securely share information such as referrals, patient summaries, discharge summaries and lab results when providing their patients’ care.”

On a personal note, I see this as a huge market-based advance. Part of American health care’s backwardness is directly due to the refusal by old-guard health IT firms to adopt standards that would facilitate the same kinds of easy, secure information exchange that we’ve seen elsewhere on the Web. That approach has held us all hostage, extracted billions of unnecessary dollars from us, and slowed the progress of patient care.

But as we all know, the market abhors vacuums, and it was only a matter of time before an innovator with the resources and connections offered a better, cheaper model that can translate directly into better care at lower cost.

Kudos to Surescripts for this innovation, and kudos to AAFP for having the vision and will to orchestrate bringing this service to its members first. Also, hats off to David C. Kibbe MD, my writing partner, for playing an instrumental role in facilitating this collaboration.

This is the way that real, meaningful change happens in the marketplace.

One thought on “AAFP Partners With Surescripts On A New, Secure Electronic Messaging Service For Physicians

  1. I applaud the AAFP for advancing secure colleague messaging in a straight forward manner.

    We’re pursing a similar course of action in two upstate New York communities in partnership with RelayHealth. In Ithaca, New York, our efforts have earned us 15 recognition points toward our Level 3 NCQA PCMH Recognition and has enabled us to lay the foundation of 43 “Multi-site” points overall for a total of 6 primary care practices that will receive recognition based on their use of the same EMR solution. We’re one of the many “smaller communities” that has been largely ignored by Federal and State HIE initiatives. Even so, most primary care physician practice and specialty physician practices have a long way to go to come close to “feeding” a “RHIO”. Secure colleague messaging, of the type/approach we’ve designed for our two communities is focused on “abstracted” health information both relevant and important to the referral and needed return documentation. Using the standard “Continuity of Care Document” (CCD) format, we’ve perfected the process of “bi-directional” HIE – even between EMR and non-EMR equipped practices. We’ve even included other types of “referred to” providers as part of our initiative including our local Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) and a local DME provider. Our current initiative includes “connecting” an employer based Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to primary care to create a virtual Patient Assistance Program (PtAP) for enhanced behavioral health support.

    In Elmira, New York, we’re following this same working model for the benefit of Medicaid Patients being cared for in a dedicated primary care site for Medicaid Recipients. In fact, this strategy is allowing us to close the communication gap between primary care and local community service agencies.

    Not only does this represent improved patient care, but we’ve been able to calculate administrative savings for all parties concerned, while at the same time eliminating the chance of accidentally faxing a piece of clinical documentation to the local “tire repair shop.”

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