Patient Safety Alert: Update: Surescripts: Potential Inaccurate Medication History Data

Dear Valued Clients:

This is an important follow-up patient safety message impacting a subset of gGastro® clients. We are writing to inform you that Surescripts has provided an update regarding an issue it initially reported in September 2021 and October 2021, involving possible inaccurate medication history data sent from three pharmacy data sources.

Following is information we have recently received from Surescripts:

Time Frame: The start date for this issue is unknown. 

Description: This is an update to a Potential Patient Safety Issue (Level 1) reported in September and October 2021. As noted in prior bulletins, Surescripts removed the sig field in Medication History response messages from three pharmacy data sources because they were sending inaccurate medication instructions with missing characters, slash (‘ / ’) and dash (‘ – ‘). We are not aware of any harm to any patient as a result of this issue, and no protected health information (PHI) was exposed.

Scope of Impact: This issue potentially impacted any health system and health technology vendor that received a Medication History response from any of the three pharmacy data sources.

Surescripts Actions: In October and November, two of the three pharmacy data sources corrected the missing characters issue for medications moving forward. In December, Surescripts implemented an update to resume sending sig data from these two pharmacy data sources for medication records received after the correction dates.

In January, the third pharmacy data source implemented a fix for medications moving forward and for the prior 12 months, and in April, one of the pharmacy data sources implemented a fix to correct sig data for the prior 12 months. Surescripts has resumed sending sig data for two of the three pharmacies and continues to work with one pharmacy data source to correct sig data for the prior 12 months.

Surescripts will communicate updates as it continues to work to resolve this issue.

Recommended Actions: All health systems and health technology vendors should be aware of this update and communicate it to impacted end users.

As always, prescribers and practice staff should verify medication quantities and all other prescription information with their patients during the medication reconciliation process.”

To emphasize, this issue impacted response messages for requested medication history data, and did NOT impact transmitted prescriptions.


Issue Description:

In the examples Surescripts reviewed, some instructions fields did not contain appropriate slash or dash characters, resulting in the incorrect display of data. 

For example, “Take 1 2 tablets by mouth at bedtime” was displayed instead of “Take 1-2 tablets by mouth at bedtime,” or “Take 1 & 1 2 tablets by mouth once a day” could be displayed instead of “Take 1 & 1/2 tablets by mouth once a day.”

ModMed is providing you this notification for transparency. No corrective action is required; however, if you are interested in receiving a detailed list of impacted patients identified by Surescripts, please contact our Support Team


The ModMed Gastroenterology Team




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