Hospitals use these 3 methods to mitigate drug cost pressures

Hospitals' bottom lines are feeling pressure from increasing pharmaceutical drug prices, causing some to implement new processes to keep spending down.

Here are three methods hospitals are using to keep drug spending down, according to the Washington Post.

1. Physician reminders. When physicians at Cleveland-based University Hospitals sign in online to prescribe certain high-price medications for patients, dollar sign symbols pop up to remind the physicians to pick an alternative, less costly drug if possible.

2. Drop budget-busting drugs. Like other health systems across the country, University Hospitals has dropped multiple high-price drugs from the list of medications physicians can prescribe. Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health Care system has taken a similar approach. For instance, UUHC physicians must now specifically request Isuprel, an injectable heart medication, from the hospital's pharmacy. Isuprel's 2015 list price rose by more than 500 percent.

3. Look for less costly forms of the medication. Vitamin K tablets became a cost concern for Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health when the price soared from a few dollars per tablet to more than $60. In response to the price hike, pharmacy staffers began mixing a less expensive injectable form, which can be mixed with cherry syrup and given to patients by mouth. This approach was used by other hospitals across the nation in 2014, when they began using the cheaper pill form of acetaminophen after the price of the intravenous form spiked.

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