Surescripts to showcase prescription price transparency at HIMSS18

To help fight sticker shock, the e-prescribing vendor is enabling doctors and patients to work together to find the best, most affordable covered medication – before the patient leaves the office.
By Bill Siwicki
08:22 AM
prescription prices

Despite advances in electronic prescribing technology, patients still face challenges in getting prescriptions filled and adhering to their medication regimen.

At HIMSS18, Surescripts, the Arlington, Virginia-based vendor of health information networking, e-prescribing and clinical interoperability technology, will be convening the Surescripts Network Alliance to discuss how the company, its provider organization clients and other stakeholders are working to enhance prescribing, inform care decisions and advance healthcare, officials said.

A particular area of focus will be the work Surescripts is doing to try to improve prescription price transparency and workflow efficiency with its Real-Time Prescription Benefit, Prior Authorization and Specialty Patient Enrollment systems.

"When used together, these tools create the ideal scenario," said Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts. "For the first time ever, prescribers will be able to see what a medication will cost their patient, based on their specific health plan coverage, and pick the most affordable medication that meets the patient's therapeutic need."

And if the patient requires a specialty medication, it can be prescribed electronically and fulfilled more quickly and easily, Skelton added.

"Once the most appropriate and affordable medication is selected, if an authorization is still required, it may be quickly completed during the office visit within the EHR workflow," he said. "It is then sent to the pharmacy, resulting in the patient leaving the doctor's office confident in both the medication choice and the medication cost, knowing that it will be covered by their insurance."

Too often, out-of-pocket costs "surprise a patient at the pharmacy counter and prompt prescription abandonment," Skelton said. "And that time-consuming manual processes like prior authorization can lead to significant delays in treatment as well as prescription abandonment as the patient, pharmacist, physician and health plan work through the frustrating labyrinth of fax- and phone-based interactions to obtain approvals."

Prescription abandonment and the subsequently reduced adherence cost the U.S. an estimated $300 billion each year, according to the New England Health Institute. Consequently, prescription price transparency is critical to lowering patients' out-of-pocket costs and preventing sticker shock and prescription abandonment at the pharmacy, Skelton said.

"Surescripts operates a health information network that delivers actionable patient intelligence at critical points of care in order to increase safety, lower costs and improve quality," he explained. "We are in a unique position to innovate and help simplify traditionally complex processes."

Over the past 17 years, the company has built the Surescripts Network Alliance to connect virtually all electronic health records, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies and clinicians, plus an increasing number of health plans, long-term and post-acute care and specialty pharmacy organizations.

"Today we're proud to say that nearly three-quarters of all prescriptions are automated using our network," said Skelton. "We transmit 12.8 billion transactions annually, including 4.8 million e-prescriptions daily. We're now leveraging this robust network to enhance prescribing, inform care decisions and advance healthcare."

Surescripts is in Booth 632. 

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An inside look at the innovation, education, technology, networking and key events at the HIMSS18 global conference in Las Vegas.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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