Insurers working to speed up prior authorization of drugs, devices

America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade organization representing health insurers, is working on a project to improve the prior authorization process for drugs, medical devices and procedures, according to MedPage.

For the project, the trade organization is partnering with e-prescribing company SureScripts, data company Availity and seven insurers that together have 60 million members.

The project was discussed this week by Kate Berry, senior vice president for clinical affairs and strategic partnerships at America's Health Insurance Plans, at the annual meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in Washington, D.C.

The project, called the Fast Prior Authorization Technology Highway initiative, aims to speed prior authorization requests, approvals and information exchange through technology and access to a portal. 

Through the Fast PATH portal, physicians and other prescribers will be able to access the patient's pharmacy benefits to know whether the medication requires prior authorization, Ms. Berry said. If it does, the physician can either choose an alternative medication that does not require prior authorization or immediately submit a prior authorization request. 

In addition, the portal will allow prescribers to know what the patient's out-of-pocket cost for the medicine will be in real time. 

For medical devices and procedures, physicians will be able to access a multipayer portal to simplify prior authorization requests.

The pilot project is expected to begin in 60 to 90 days and run for about six months, Ms. Berry said.

"Believe it or not, plans don't like prior authorization either," Ms. Berry said. "We know there are lots of opportunities for improvement."

Results of the project will be evaluated by RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research organization.

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