Quest Diagnostics is excited to present this article, reprinted with permission from Sarah Malakoff, Principal Segment Marketing Manager, for Surescripts®.
2021 was an important year for transforming the specialty medication journey on a national scale. I spoke to my colleague Cecelia Byers, PharmD, Surescripts Specialty Clinical Product Advisor, to unpack the innovation recently delivered in the specialty medications space and its impact on prescribers, specialty pharmacists, hubs, and patients.
Before we talk about the progress we’re making, could you tell me what problems we’re trying to solve in the specialty medications space?
Too often, the prescriber and specialty pharmacist experience is very manual. From the way prescriptions are sent to specialty pharmacies and information is gathered, to how doctors, pharmacists and patients contact each other – it’s manual all around and lacks automated processes that could facilitate faster and better care.
And patients experience a very time-consuming process, filled with lots of unknowns and time wondering, “What’s next? When is it going to happen? Who am I going to hear from? Who should I contact?”
What have been some Surescripts innovations in the specialty medication space to help solve these problems?
In the past year, Surescripts deepened its clinical intelligence capabilities, expanded disease states, and enabled additional medications supported by Specialty Patient Enrollment. This is helping prescribers and specialty pharmacists get more patients started on specialty medications faster, and giving them more time to spend on patient care instead of paperwork. The data we’ve seen has been incredible.
What solutions stand out to you?
Although not initially used for specialty prescribing, I think about real-time prescription benefit (RTPB) and how prescribers can now see cost information upfront for specialty medications, which can be costly. This solution can help the prescribers with the medication selection process, allowing them to factor in what medications health insurance companies will cover and what those costs will be. And having this tool upfront (during the prescriber conversation) helps to prevent sticker shock when the patient reaches the specialty pharmacy.
Can you paint a picture as to how these innovations and technologies work together for a smarter, swifter specialty medication experience?
The reduction in time to therapy is significant, but when you look more closely, the impact is even more expansive than that. For example, if we reduced the number of times that a specialty pharmacy might have to reach out to a prescriber, that not only gives time back to the pharmacy, but also to the prescriber’s office. And the time saved is not usually just a single phone call, it’s the time it also takes to gather the information asked for on that call.
If the information needed is there at the right time in the moment that matters, that means one less phone ringing, and one less fax machine spewing paper everywhere. It frees up prescribers’ and pharmacists’ time to demonstrate their full potential as trusted resources for their patients and healthcare industry partners.
Where would you like the industry and specialty healthcare to be in 5 years? Or what’s the ideal?
In 5 years, I hope to see the specialty medications space become more understanding of and committed to the vision of electronic integrations, specifically getting more information electronically and moving the needle on more electronic prescribing of these medications. It starts at the prescriber’s office and pharmacies, and their technology vendors recognizing the need for change and investment with a trusted partner to help them be successful.
Quanum Electronic Health Record (EHR) can help connect care providers, increase medication adherence, and provide medication history to bring patient insights into focus. Quanum ePrescribing, which includes Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) and electronic prior authorization (ePA) within the prescriber workflow, can be added for a low monthly fee to help streamline your ePrescribing workflow with an efficient prior authorization process. Specialty Patient Enrollment brings the benefits of ePrescribing to specialty medications. It builds on our real-time prescription benefit and ePA by eliminating inefficiencies and obstacles, enabling patients to get started on affordable medications sooner. Contact us to learn more.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of Quest Diagnostics®, or any of its employees.