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Can a Price Transparency Tool Boost Patient Savings?


The tool improves medication adherence and eliminates treatment wait time, according to its maker.

This image has been altered. Courtesy of aprima.com.

Surescripts is claiming that its real-time prescription benefit tool has boosted patient savings and prescriber efficiency.

The price transparency tool has been used over 30 million times to view patient-specific prescription price and therapeutic information integrated with their electronic health record (EHR) software at the point of care, according to a press release. While the data comes directly from a company that’s using the information to expand its market footprint, it offers a view of what drug prescribing may look like in the near future, especially considering the government’s efforts to promote price transparency.

>> READ: CMS Launches Online Tool to Promote Price Transparency

Prescribers using the tool have saved patients as much as $8,032 in out-of-pocket costs on a single prescription, according to Surescripts. That’s because the technology enables prescribers to see the cost of the drug and therapeutic alternatives.

The tool shows benefits-based, patient-specific out-of-pocket cost information to see improved medication adherence and reduced prescriber rework.

When prescribers were presented with an alternative medication without a prior authorization, prescribers switched the drug 24 percent of the time, eliminating more than 132,000 hours of potential wait time in one month, Surescripts claimed.

With less time waiting on prior authorizations, treatment can start sooner.

“Our unique offering is improving the prescription decision-making process by delivering accurate prescription price and therapeutic alternative information to the point of care, while staying true to the patient’s formulary and protecting patient and prescriber choice,” Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said.

Prescription costs make up 17 percent of overall personal healthcare services.

Although Surescripts has great incentive to market the benefits of its solution, health-tech experts and insiders in private industry, provider organizations, government and beyond are calling for similar price transparency tools to enter the clinic and the home.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), for instance, recently launched a new online tool as part of the 21st Century Cures Act that allows consumers to compare Medicare payments and copayments for certain procedures that are performed in hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers. Accessible on Medicare.gov, the tool provides users with national average for the amount Medicare pays the hospital or surgical center and the copayment that a beneficiary with no Medicare supplemental insurance would pay the provider.

CMS also launched an eMedicare initiative that gives people the opportunity to receive interactive online decision support, so they can better understand and evaluate their coverage options. The initiative also offers a mobile out-of-pocket cost calculator that gives information on plan and drug costs.

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