Concerns around the cost of prescriptions is a growing challenge. A Surescripts survey recently found that 19% of patients say it has become harder to afford medications in the past 18 months, while two-thirds of prescribers say the cost of prescriptions is one of the biggest issues in healthcare today.
Fortunately, growing prescriber adoption and increased innovation with Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit shows nationwide momentum to address these concerns.
As of last month, more than 550,000 prescribers were using Real-Time Prescription Benefit. It’s remarkable to see how quickly providers have embraced this new technology that was introduced just a few years ago. For context, it took nearly 10 years before this many prescribers were using electronic prescribing.
Real-Time Prescription Benefit delivers price information directly from the patient's benefit plan and allows prescribers to consider therapeutic alternatives that are both clinically appropriate and affordable. This year, we expanded the reach of Real-Time Prescription Benefit among pharmacy benefit managers and health plans, covering more than 97% of U.S. patients in October 2021, up from 82% in 2020. And now, we’ve improved our response rate for prescribers, delivering price information even when treating uninsured patients and patients whose price information isn’t already available from their benefit plan. Instead of seeing an error message, prescribers can see an agreed upon price from the patient’s preferred pharmacy, so they can talk with them about the best available option.
We expect these enhancements will continue to drive rapid adoption of the service, because users are more likely to receive a response each and every time they use it. And they’re already using it at scale. In the first nine months of 2021, Surescripts processed more than 300 million real-time benefit checks at the point of care, an increase of 78% over the same period in 2020. And so far in 2021, prescribers have saved patients an estimated $21 million due to alternative drug and pharmacy channel recommendations generated by Real-Time Prescription Benefit.
It’s hard to process such a sizeable number but consider how this technology is transforming prescriber-patient relationships across the country. By arming prescribers with the actionable intelligence they need to have meaningful conversations with patients, we are improving adherence and reducing costs – one benefit check, and one patient, at a time.