Healthcare providers are often asked to support patients with cost and convenience information at the point of care to address access and affordability challenges before a person picks up their prescription at the pharmacy. In a recent survey of patients and providers, we found that even though 60 percent of patients ask about ways to save money on their medications, more than 40 percent of providers indicate they do not have the time they need to discuss medications with their patients. As a result, 67 percent of patients found their prescription more expensive than expected when they went to pick it up — with more than a third of patients abandoning their prescriptions.
Patient-centered technology solutions can help address these expectations and deliver better care by informing medication conversations between patients and providers, supporting prescribing decisions and creating efficiencies for the patient and their care team. From a provider’s perspective, technology solutions help care teams provide patients with the information they need, proactively preventing access barriers and encouraging patients to adhere to their prescribed therapy. Not only do these innovations have the potential to move patients along their treatment journey faster, but they improve the patient experience and help build trust and loyalty between the patient and their provider.
Serving as an oncology nurse for nearly a decade, I know that these important affordability conversations often fall to nurses. A recent survey showed that 97 percent of nurses are tasked with researching and validating clinical and patient information for prescribers, including drug interactions, side effects, allergies, patient medication history, patient plan formulary information and prior authorization requirements. Most are using multiple resources to find this important information because it has historically not been located through a single, trusted source. These data gaps can contribute to delays in patient access to therapy and add burden on care teams that contribute to burnout.
I remember how time consuming it was to find and access trusted resources needed to inform patient conversations and prescribing decisions. We need this type of information in a central location to easily access patient-specific drug information. Connecting disparate data from across the healthcare network — from biopharma companies to the pharmacy and payers, back to the providers and patients — makes the data actionable, enabling patients to play a more active role in their care.
Ultimately, the desire to help patients is what inspired many of us to choose healthcare as a career. I’m encouraged to see technology solutions emerge to remove barriers and provide centralized access to patient medication information in workflow. These tools, which exist today, can help nurses and the entire care team better support patients, simplify administrative processes, and reduce delays to help get patients on therapy.
Reliable, real-time prescription decision support technology empower the entire care team to work seamlessly to help people get the medicine they need — and stay on therapy. These solutions also help meet the growing expectation from patients to have transparency into what they’ll pay for their medicine — just like they do when shopping for other goods and services.
Medication affordability will remain a challenge for patients for as long as healthcare premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs continue to rise. By addressing medication affordability, access and adherence barriers with technology, patients can share in the decision-making process and take a more active role in managing their treatment to achieve better outcomes.
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