We are excited to present this article, reprinted with permission from Andrew Mellin at Surescripts®.
Recently, 501 specialty pharmacists and prescribers shared their thoughts in a survey about what it’s like to prescribe and fill specialty medications, and how to improve the process. From diagnosis to treatment, overcoming these challenges can keep specialty prescriptions moving.
Obstacles and Opportunities
These drugs come at a cost.
Of all new medications launched in the past 5 years, most were specialty medications. Many are life-changing for patients, but they are expensive. It’s not unusual to see 6-figure price tags. Add the time and effort it takes to prescribe and fill these medications, which can delay treatment and exacerbate the patient’s anxiety—particularly if newly diagnosed—and it’s clear the process could be improved.
A deeper look at the path to specialty medication reveals the impediments prescribers and pharmacists share.
Grasp all the information
For many providers, the patient’s medical record and clinical information is like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle: incomplete.
Pharmacists collaborate with prescribers to help complete the prior authorization, but when the pharmacist doesn’t have all the information from the prescriber, the whole process is delayed.
In the survey, 2 of 3 prescribers (and 3 of 4 pharmacists) reported that incomplete forms are an issue when they’re trying to obtain prior authorization for specialty medications, and most prescribers (64%) and pharmacists (70%) generally felt that missing information impedes the prior authorization process.
Speed time to therapy
Incomplete information bogs down the process.
Most pharmacists (87%) thought it should take less than 2 weeks to get a patient started on a specialty medication, but only 33% reported that it did. It’s much the same for prescribers. The result is that for many (if not most) patients, it takes at least 2 weeks, and sometimes a month or more, to go from diagnosis to therapy.
That’s a long time to wait.
What’s more, over half of prescribers said the task of sending a specialty prescription to the right pharmacy—as simple as that may seem—can add delay and affect the patient’s medication adherence.
Access to patient-specific benefits and coverage
Nearly all pharmacists believe that patient-specific benefit information is important and access to it would be a great benefit—not just for patients, but for the care team. Access to benefits (and coverage) helps overcome the twin challenges of missing information and delayed time to therapy.
These solutions limit administrative tasks, save time and reduce costs—with cleaner, more comprehensive data, supported by a network that connects and mobilizes all sides of the market.
- ePrescribing sets the standard for safe, clear prescriptions with technology that enables high data quality and efficient communication between prescriber and pharmacist
- Real-Time Prescription Benefit delivers prescription benefit intelligence to the point of care so clinicians can choose safe, lower cost mail-order alternative medications that patients can afford and adhere to
- Specialty patient enrollment automatically sends patient-specific information from the EHR to the specialty pharmacy, minimizing the need for phone calls and faxes to and from the specialty pharmacy
- Electronic prior authorization helps prescribers complete a prior auth at the time of the prescription before it is sent to the pharmacy or on-request from the pharmacy
ePrescribing tools help lift the burden from clinicians and payers by replacing a time-consuming process with a streamlined workflow, enhancing patient safety and improving prescription management. Quanum ePrescribing offered by Quest Diagnostics helps connect care providers, increases medication adherence, and provides medication history to bring patient insights into focus. Quanum EHR helps connect care providers, increases medication adherence, and provides medication history to bring patient insights into focus. Contact us to learn more.
Andrew Mellin, MD, MBA, is Vice President of Medical Informatics at Surescripts.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of Quest Diagnostics®, or any of its employees.