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Understanding NCPDP Standards

National Council for Prescription Drug Programs(NCPDP) publishes standards forthe electronic exchange of healthcare information related to pharmacy services.

NCPDP standards

Understanding NCPDP Standards

SCRIPT Standard for Electronic Prescribing

In this blog we will discuss the SCRIPT Standard used in Electronics Prescribing. This standard covers data exchanges between prescribers, pharmacies, intermediaries and payers.


SCRIPT is a standard data set for the interchange of prescription data and related information in the medical provider community.

So let’s talk about the formats used in this standard. There are of two types, XML and EDIFACT. The older versions such as 4.2 are in EDIFACT format.

The newer version such as 10.6 has an XML format option. If you are a member of NCPDP, you can download all their standards and the related implementation guides.

  1. Version 8 and later are now using XML data dictionary. Current standard is 10.6 (as of August 2014).
  2. Version 8 and earlier are in UN/EDIFACT standard (transaction types in the UIH segment indicates the message type and subject)

We will show different message types in both XML and EDIFACT format later in this post.

How does Adeptia integrate with NCPDP standards?

Adeptia is a member of NCPDP and provides full NCPDP Standards Data Dictionary, Process Templates and the Data Mapping rules to route and convert the NCPDP data into any target format. The process templates depends on the type of transaction we are working with, for example here are all the SCRIPT transactions along with their Message IDs and descriptions of the most widely used transactions:

New prescription request(NEWRX)

  • Prescription request from the doctor to the pharmacy
  • Watch video here

Change of new prescription (RXCHG)

  • These transactions are used when the pharmacy is requestingchange in the original prescription, and the prescriber’s response.An example may be to change the daily dosage of the prescribed medicine or changing the medicine to a specific manufacturer.
  • Video:

Cancel of prescription (CANRX)

  • This transaction is a request from the prescriber to the pharmacyto not fill a previously sent prescription, and the pharmacy’sresponse.

Refill/renewals request/response or Resupply in long term care (REFREQ, RESUPP)

  • These transactions are used from the pharmacy to the prescriberrequesting additional refills and the prescriber’s response.

Fill Status notification (RXFILL)

  • This transaction is sent to the prescriber from the pharmacy andindicates the status of the dispensing (dispensed,partially dispensed, not dispensed).

Medication history exchange (RXHREQ/RXHRES)

  • This transaction is from a pharmacy or a doctor requesting a medication historyfrom a healthcare provider, and the medication history response.
  • Video:

Following are some of the other transmission types:

  • Password Change (PASCHG)
  • Status is used to relay the acceptance of a transaction back to the sender (STATUS)
  • Verification (VERIFY)
  • Drug Administration exchange in long term care
  • Prescriber-reported samples for more robust medication history
  • Query functions for new prescriptions

How to Implement SCRIPT Process flows in Adeptia?

Advantage of using Adeptia Solution is that it enables your business users or non-technical users to configure the above transactions quickly without having to write code or to read through complex implementation guides. Adeptia has done all the work for you by providing a graphical process designer interface to allow you to configure any SCRIPT process and by giving you access to all the data dictionaries that will help in parsing, validating and converting any NCPDP data to any format. Here is an example of the New Prescription process suggested in the NCPDP data Implementation guide and the template flow in Adeptia.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

Here is the New RX and Change RX Request/Response Process Flow template in Adeptia.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

Now apart from the SCRIPT processes as described above, understanding the SCRIPT data formats and how it relates to each other and more importantly how it can be converted into any another format (let’s say a database) is core to a successful implementation of a NCPDP standard format.

Let’s take a look at a sample SCRIPT XML message

Transport node consists of the following sections:

1. Patient information such as SSN, Name, Address, DoB, Phone.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

2. Pharmacy data such as the NCPDPID, NPI, Address and Phone.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

3. Prescriber data such as the NPI, Name, Address, Phone.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

4. MedicationPrescribed that contains the Drug Description, Dosage/Quantity and instructions.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

Let’s take a look at a sample SCRIPT UN/EDIFACT message

A SCRIPT message interchange consists of following segments.Aninterchange is defined ascommunication between partners in theform of a structured set of messagesand service segments.

Understanding NCPDP Standards

A sample SCRIPT message in UN/EDIFACT format:

Understanding NCPDP Standards

Here the UIH segment uniquely identifies that it is SCRIPT interchange type with NEWRX as the message type. Adeptia provides the full UN/EDIFACT data dictionary to parse and validate SCRIPT data and allows users to map it to any format.

How to map the SCRIPT data in Adeptia?

In Adeptia’s Data Mapper, simply pull up the particular XML or UN/EDIFACT Schema of the SCRIPT transaction type and map it to the target system. Sample mapping is shown below.

Understanding NCPDP Standards