Over Half of U.S. Prescribers Use Health IT for Medication Affordability & Adherence

More than half of all U.S. prescribers use Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit to get patient-specific benefit information, out-of-pocket costs, medication alternatives, and flags for prior authorization. It’s how prescribers and pharmacists win back time to deliver exceptional care.

Half of U.S. adults say they put off or skipped care in the past year because of costs, according to a December 2021 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And our 2021 survey reveals that prescription costs are among the top 10 issues in healthcare today: 82% of pharmacists and two-thirds of prescribers say prescription costs top the list, followed by provider burnout.

Patients are ready for the cost conversation, and patient-specific benefit information at both the point of care and point of dispensing enables the conversation for prescribers and pharmacists. Accurate cost and coverage information—up front—makes it easier to select affordable medications and optimize medication adherence.

“Working at a publicly funded hospital means that most of my patients struggle with the cost of their medications. Real-Time Prescription Benefit is a crucial tool to keep my patients on medications they can afford. ”

– Physician at a large health system on the east coast

An increasing number of prescribers are using these health IT tools at work in their practices. As of May 2022, more than half a million prescribers (620,000) were using Real-Time Prescription Benefit to access patient-specific benefit information at the point of care, which is over half of all prescribers in the U.S. This is a 7.5% jump in users since December 2021.

By the Numbers: Real-Time Prescription Benefit & Electronic Prior Authorization

  • In May 2022, more than 620,000 U.S. prescribers used Real-Time Prescription Benefit, a 7.5% increase since December 2021.
  • Surescripts processed 34% more benefit checks at the point of care in the first four months of 2022, compared to the same five months in 2021.
  • Surescripts processed 33% more prior authorizations in the first four months of 2022, compared to the same five months in 2021.
  • CompuGroup Medical expanded their use of Real-Time Prescription Benefit in May 2022, making it available to 8,000 prescribers who use their CGM eMDs platform, in addition to the 3,600 prescribers using their APRIMA software.
  • Greenway Health made the service live with all 50,000 users on its network.
  • In March 2022, prescribers using Real-Time Prescription Benefit through their athenahealth software saved an average of $41.64 per prescription.

But a window into prescription costs is only one piece of the puzzle. The other is time.

In two seconds or less, Real-Time Prescription Benefit sends cost and coverage information directly from the prescription benefit plan, including up to five covered therapeutic alternatives that may cost less or avoid prior authorization.

“Consumerism is shaping many corners of healthcare,” host Daniel Williams said in our MGMA podcast episode about achieving medication adherence through meaningful patient cost conversations, where affordability and adherence are two sides of the same coin.

In a survey published by the American Medical Association, 88% of physicians describe the burden of prior authorization as high or extremely high, with 40% of physicians employing staff to work exclusively on prior authorizations. Including those who don’t have full-time staff to work on prior authorizations, physicians and staff still spend about two business days every single week to complete them.

Electronic Prior Authorization lets providers complete the prescribing process within their EHRs, saving time and speeding patients to therapy.

“We’re finishing 10 electronic prior authorizations in the time it takes to finish one or two manually during a day.”

– An active user of Electronic Prior Authorization

If a prescriber chooses to prescribe a medication that requires prior authorization, Electronic Prior Authorization delivers dynamic question sets and dispositions from the patient’s prescription benefit plan into the electronic workflow.

And this happens in real time, at the point of care.

How do we create a better healthcare experience? By giving prescribers and pharmacists access to cost and coverage information at all points of the care journey. This means more affordable medications, sooner. Visit our page on affordability and adherence to learn more.

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