Hearing from Surescripts own CEO Frank Harvey when speaking with Kyle Murphy, Ph.D., Vice President of Editorial at Xtelligent Healthcare Media, he was passionate about the way Surescripts is playing a role in reducing clinician burnout by connecting providers with the right patient information at the right time, enhancing patient safety, improving access to more affordable medications and increasing the quality of care.
Healthcare innovation is happening now
One thought that I keep going back to – innovation is not creating complex products to serve a purpose. It’s the exact opposite and the best innovation is simpler than you might think: When a provider can say to a patient during a visit, this medication will be $80 a month, can you afford that?
Disguised as a good, old-fashioned conversation is more than 20 years of innovation led by Surescripts technology. It’s providing doctors and pharmacists with access to patient intelligence at their fingertips, solving some of the major challenges in the delivery of healthcare across the nation.
“The most expensive medication is the one the patient will never pick up and never takes”
In conversations, Harvey also shared that he began his career as a small-town community pharmacist and noted that when a patient knows what their prescription medication will cost before they get to the pharmacy counter, they're much more likely to pick up that medication.
Simplifying tasks for providers, reducing costs for patients
It might sound too good to be true, but these concepts don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, we are achieving these goals by simplifying prescribing at the point of care.
Woven throughout HLTH presentations was the pervasive theme that we all know to be true: healthcare costs have long burdened patients. Add to that a concerning recognition that health systems are also feeling the pinch with dire provider burnout and workforce shortages combined with higher costs attributed to inflation.
Harvey noted in this interview that when addressing cost concerns, “it's really important that the healthcare that takes place is as efficient as possible. The communication between the pharmacists and the physicians, we need to make sure that communication is succinct and the right information is in the right hands at the right time to really do the best by the patient.”
I better understood how Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit empowers providers to care for the whole patient by reducing time-consuming rework that happens when a patient gets to the pharmacy and learns they can’t afford the medication prescribed to them. Efficiencies in the way providers work in health systems and the ability to determine lower cost alternative medication for patients can lead to improved care quality.
The numbers back this up:
- Patients save $38 on traditional medications and $534 on specialty medications on average per prescription
- A recent study also showed prescription pickup rates are 3.2 percentage points higher
- One specialty pharmacy decreased their time to fill by more than two days, with a 44% decrease in phone calls to prescribers for missing clinical data, and a 14% dispense rate improvement
Patient trust grows in community pharmacists as care providers
Let’s say it together this time: the COVID-19 pandemic broadened the gaps that already exist in healthcare and this sentiment was reinforced throughout HLTH. We shouldn’t forget that some hospitals even closed. But it was the community pharmacists’ open doors that patients could still walk through to access the clinical care they needed that went beyond administering vaccines.
The result: patients grew to trust pharmacists for their most common clinical needs.