AMA: Adding prescription drug prices to EHRs may boost transparency, combat rising costs

Incorporating prescription drug prices in EHRs could help improve price transparency as well as sway physicians from ordering as many expensive diagnostic tests, according to the American Medical Association.  

The addition of prices for drugs, tests, surgical procedures and physician visits as a vendor requirement for EHR certification could institute a new generation of EHRs that highlights cost-consciousness, according to a recent JAMA viewpoints column cited by AMA.

However, while adding relevant pricing information to EHRs could drive overall health costs, it could also have a negative effect on physicians.

"Physicians may find the inclusion of yet more information in the EHR frustrating, so there could be unintended consequences of adding cost information," the JAMA authors wrote, according to AMA. "Regardless, stimulating dialogue by providing physicians and patients with pricing information at the point of service makes intuitive sense."

AMA delegates recently adopted policy at the organization's annual meeting that states AMA will collaborate with other stakeholders to do the following:

· Analyze current availability of EHR, pharmacy and payer functionalities that support integration of price, insurance coverage, formulary tier and drug use management policies and patient cost information at the point of care.
· Explore current barriers to this functionality and what is being done to address barriers.
· Create a strategy to improve availability and accessibility of real-time prescription cost information at the point of care.

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