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Did you attend the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) Conference in September? Pop quiz! What percentage of Walgreens specialty pharmacists say they’ve avoided phone calls to prescribers using our Specialty Medications Gateway solution?

The answer is at the bottom but, before you scroll, let me explain why I ask this question in the first place. It’s because of information gaps. These gaps are the bane of specialty pharmacists and medication therapy management. Information gaps slow everything down.

More relevant information. That’s what pharmacists need.

“Our pharmacists loved using the Gateway. [...] It was great to see how easy the adaptation was.”

Khadijah Khan

Clinical Pharmacy Strategy, Walgreens

2 Takeaways from the NASP Conference

At the NASP Conference, Cecelia Byers of Surescripts and Khadijah Khan of Walgreens delivered a presentation together about how technology is closing information gaps in prescribing and fulfillment.

Two takeaways:

  1. Most Walgreens specialty pharmacies (85%) have integrated Specialty Medications Gateway into their daily workflows. It’s a tool they want to use, and they’re using it for a reason. It works.
  2. Out of 8,445 searches (as of the first half of 2023), 89% returned documents relevant to searches and 98% had a patient match.

Specific patient demographics. Allergies. Current weight. Vital signs. Lab tests, including values. Social history. Past procedures. This is the kind of information Walgreens pharmacists are accessing through Specialty Medications Gateway.

“Communication and collaboration. Without those two things, you slow down.”

Cecelia Byers

Clinical Product Advisor, Surescripts

What we’ve done with our solutions for the specialty medication journey, as I heard Byers say onstage at NASP, is cover the entire spectrum: the patient’s diagnosis in the doctor’s office, the electronic prescription, filling the prescription at the specialty pharmacy, even the care management process.

And of these tools, Byers said, “One of those is around communication and collaboration. Without those two things, you slow down.”

Specialty pharmacists estimate having to reach out to prescribers more than five times a day for missing information. This eats up valuable time. And when it can take three or even four weeks to get a patient started on a specialty medication, time is a valuable resource.

Specialty Medications Gateway frees up time for patients and other high-value tasks. It offers a clear line of sight. And as I’ve written before, a clear line of sight can make the difference between a win or loss.

Specialty Medications Gateway enhances communication and collaboration by bringing clinical information directly from the electronic health record (EHR) to the pharmacist and technician.

I heard Khan describe how easy it was for Walgreens pharmacists to adapt their workflows to Specialty Medications Gateway. “Our pharmacists loved using the Gateway,” Khan said. “It was easy to incorporate because of the success that comes behind the searches.”

And Khan said that when Walgreens pharmacists are looking for specific pieces of information, Surescripts adapts quickly to ensure that they can find what they need faster next time.

It’s all built on a solid foundation for useful information sharing.

Your pop quiz answer is 63%!

Well over half of Specialty Medications Gateway users at Walgreens said that it helped them avoid calls to prescribers in the first half of 2023—at the same time that Walgreens implemented this technology.  

Learn more about how technology can streamline specialty prescribing and fulfillment for timely treatment and a better patient experience. 

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