May 14, 2019
Transparency is a word not often associated with the medical industry, particularly as it relates to the patient’s cost for medication. When prescribing drugs for their patients, providers typically do not have access to prescription pricing, nor to information on lower-cost options that may be more in line with a person’s out-of-pocket costs. With 24% percent of patients saying they’re not confident that they will be able to afford their medications, this lack of insight at the point-of-care can lead to distrust, affecting both the patient-physician relationship and the patient’s adherence to their treatment plan.
Most healthcare professionals do not have appropriate access to the data they need to manage drug spending. In fact, in a recent study of more than 500 healthcare professionals, 78% of respondents said they would like to have access to patient out-of-pocket costs. The data also showed that 69% of survey takers find it important to have access to information on low-cost therapeutic alternatives to prescriptions.
This urge for more transparency is a positive sign for provider-patient relationships. When a physician can explain all available options to a patient, there is a much higher likelihood that he or she will take an additional interest in their health overall. When a patient knows what they are paying for, the probability that they will stick with their medication plan increases. Trust will develop because of this clarity, instead of a feeling of deceit.
Automated processes are another way to convey information clearly to patients. This also has the additional benefit of improving clinic employee workflow. The 2018 AMA Prior Authorization Survey revealed that 65% of respondents wait at least one business day for prior authorization outcomes, with 26% waiting at least three business days.
These delays can lead to a direct abandonment of medication plans by patients, and without patient-specific information at the point-of-care, physicians are spending more time on non-clinical and administrative tasks rather than on patient care. This patient-specific data, however, can be placed on Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, offering patients better price and prescription visibility while allowing physicians more time to focus on the detailed and specific needs of their patients.
A trip to the doctor is already unnerving enough for most people; the looming threat of indefinite prescription pricing is another burden altogether. If providers of prescription pills and the pharmacies that sell them worked more in tandem to digitize and make pricing explicitly clear, they would both stand to gain. Further, patients would be more engaged with their treatment plans and stick to them, knowing that they are on the most suitable and affordable medications for their specific needs. Collaboration between EHR and eRx firms can help pave the path to price transparency, connecting pharmacies, physicians and patients together to improve the value of care and the reputation of the medical industry as a whole.
At ChartLogic, we are driven by the desire to improve patient care, office efficiency, and profitability for the physician practice. With that in mind, we will continue to add products and services that help practices improve efficiencies so that healthcare professionals can focus on what matters most: patient care.