6 things health systems need in medication access technology

The entire care team can benefit from role-specific innovation within health systems.

Health systems serve as the central nervous system of the healthcare eco-system, sending critical signals that control voluntary and involuntary – but necessary action. Physicians, nurses and administrative staff come together within these walls – physical and virtual – to collaborate for better patient outcomes. 

Like a motor command from the brain traveling to the muscle, each of these individuals needs to be connected to one another and to the patient.  Communication is a critical element, and in many cases intuitive technology can help communicate the information necessary for each patient to make the best medication decision for their unique circumstance. Read on for a list of tools and features health systems should consider to support medication access. 

1. Price Transparency Tools

With high-deductible plans rising — and 75 percent of patients never seeing the other side of their deductible1 — price transparency is more important than ever. The best

price transparency tools leverage an open network, free of bias, so patients can work with their provider to find the most affordable option. This may mean working within a deductible or pharmacy shopping outside of insurance to find the best cash price.

2. Cash Options Outside of Insurance

Mobile technology put the power of consumerism in people’s hands and that extends to prescription medications.  While going through insurance can feel like the default method for accessing therapy, it is not the only choice. Providers and pharmacists can help patients understand their options and avoid sticker shock by sharing all options available at the patient’s preferred pharmacy.

3. Patient Empowerment

Nearly every industry has needed to adapt and evolve to meet consumers’ changing expectations — healthcare is no different. In a recent survey, more than half of patients listed easier access to their own records as one key aspect of healthcare they’d like to see improve in the future as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.2

Many high-performing health systems and practices recognize the rise in patient consumerism and the demand for access to information and options, with affordability top-of-mind for most patients.2 By tapping into an abundance of data available through prescription decision support solutions, and offering patient-facing solutions to view their own health data, patients can effectively become an active part of the care team. 

4. Improvements Interoperability

By using and promoting open application programming interfaces (APIs), health systems can provide their clinicians with more tools to better serve patients. These enhance the experience and allow patients to engage differently in their own healthcare, especially as telehealth settles in as a more permanent care option. A clear mark of the industry shifting toward more patient data transparency was the passing of The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Cures Act Final Rule earlier this year, laying the groundwork for future API mandates while enabling data privacy and safety.3

5. Better Telehealth Experiences

A 2020 survey of over 2,700 providers showed that 80 percent listed patients’ lack of technology skills as a significant telemedicine challenge.4 But there are ways to improve this experience, matching the flow to what a patient would expect if they were in the office. In many cases, the prescriber is the only healthcare professional with whom the patient will interact during a telehealth visit. Provider access to an all-in-one prescription decision support solution can be all the more important, especially as recent events have spurred changes in patient benefit status, how their medications are dispensed and ability to pay out-of-pocket. Sixty-five percent of over 1,000 patients surveyed have been financially affected by COVID-19.5

6. Support for the Entire Care Team

In a recent survey, 97 percent of nurses surveyed said they are providing medication information to their prescriber(s).6 Common examples include drug-drug interactions, side effects, allergies, patient medication history, patient plan formulary information and prior authorization (PA) requirements. Most are using multiple resources to find this important information because it has historically not been located through a single, trustworthy source. Nurses and care teams need information in a central location so they can easily access patient drug information while staying in workflow. Reliable, real-time solutions can empower the entire care team to work seamlessly to help patients get the medications they need – and stay on therapy. 

To see how your health system is directly impacted by medication access challenges, and what tools are in place or available we invite you to explore our interactive website to see how these barriers may affect your patients and providers.

Miranda Gill is the Senior Director, Provider Services & Operations at CoverMyMeds and brings a clinical voice to innovation. She has been instrumental in establishing co-innovation partnerships which are focused on solving big problems for health care providers. Miranda has devoted her professional career to the care of oncology patients from a direct nursing in surgical oncology and hematology to nursing administration. 

Prior to joining CoverMyMeds, Miranda served as the Associate Director of Emergency Services at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center for nearly a decade. There, she and her team successfully launched the first fully integrated oncology emergency department in the United States. Miranda holds an undergraduate nursing degree from Ohio Northern University and a master’s nursing degree from Otterbein University.  

Miranda is involved in a number of professional organizations, most notably, Health Information Management Systems Society, American Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society.

1https://www.iqvia.com/-/media/iqvia/pdfs/institute-reports/emergence-and-impact-of-pharmacy-deductibles.pdf

2 CoverMyMeds COVID-19 Patient Survey, 2020

3 https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/what-it-means-for-me/patients

 4 CoverMyMeds COVID-19 Provider Survey, 2020

5 CoverMyMeds Patient Survey, 2020

6 CoverMyMeds Nurses Survey, 2019

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