Validation of EHR medication fill data obtained through electronic linkage with pharmacies

Saul Blecker, Samrachana Adhikari, Hanchao Zhang, John A. Dodson, Sunita M. Desai, Lisa Anzisi, Lily Pazand, Antoinette M. Schoenthaler, Devin M. Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Recent linkages between electronic health records (EHRs) and pharmacy data hold opportunity for up-to-date assessment of medication adherence at the point of care. OBJECTIVE: To validate linked EHR-pharmacy data, which can be used for point-of-care interventions for concordance with insurance claims data for patients in a large health care delivery system. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of adult patients with an active antihypertensive medication order and seen as outpatients between August 25, 2019, and August 31, 2019. Pharmacy fill information was obtained from the EHR via linkages with Surescripts pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager data, as well as from insurance claims available at our institution. We matched antihypertensive medication fills observed in the linked EHR-pharmacy database with available fills in the insurance claims database and calculated the percentage of medication fills that were available in each database. We estimated medication adherence using proportion of days covered in the linked EHR-pharmacy database and in the insurance claims database. RESULTS: Of 26,679 patients with hypertension, 23,348 (87.5%) had at least 1 antihypertensive medication fill recorded in the linked EHR-pharmacy database. Of 1,501 patients matched with the insurance database and with a documented medication fill, a fill was present for 1,484 (98.9%) and 1,259 (83.9%) patients in the linked EHR-pharmacy and insurance databases, respectively. Of 12,109 medication fills recorded in the insurance data, we found an overlap of 11,060 (91.3%) fills with the linked EHR-pharmacy database. The linked EHR-pharmacy database also contained 18,232 of 19,281 (94.6%) medication fills present in either database. Measured medication adherence was higher for patients when based on linked EHR-pharmacy data compared with insurance claims data (42% vs 30%, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Linked EHR-pharmacy data captured medication fills for the vast majority of patients and resulted in higher estimates of adherence than insurance claims. Our results suggest that pharmacy fill data available in the EHR have sufficient reliability to be used for point-of-care assessment of medication adherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1487
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of managed care & specialty pharmacy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


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