Patient Compliance improves clinical outcomes

Patient compliance with treatment recommendations is a critical factor in managing chronic conditions, improving clinical outcomes, and thereby driving better population health. As outcomes-based or value-based reimbursement becomes more prevalent, providers will need effective tools to help improve medication adherence, which in turn helps to ensure better outcomes.

Enter ― Patient Savings Programs

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), researchers found that about 8% of adult Americans don’t take their medicines as prescribed because they can’t afford them. A Patient Rx Savings Program is a prescription drug discount offering that can significantly reduce a patient’s out-of-pocket costs for many (particularly costly) brand-name prescriptions.  With such cost savings, patients will be more likely to fill and refill their prescriptions. This translates into increased “first fill compliance” and better medication adherence.

How Patient Savings Programs work

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers understand that when patients cannot afford these life-saving medications, therapeutic advantages are far outweighed by negative perceptions and non-compliance. Therefore, many of them underwrite the costs of patient savings programs, resulting in benefits for providers and manufacturers. The most obvious benefits are significant Rx savings for patients and improved medication adherence. Patients whose out-of-pocket costs are reduced are more likely to have their prescriptions filled and take their medications.

Automating Patient Rx Savings in the EHR

Patient savings programs are designed to reduce the patient’s out-of-pocket costs for prescribed brand-name medications. These programs can significantly reduce the patient’s copay. In some cases, the program may provide the medication completely free for a limited time or even an extended period. Providers can choose to automate these programs within their EHR system at point of care, i.e. when prescribing a medication. This makes the programs easy for the provider to implement. If the medication prescribed has an associated savings program, the EHR enables the provider to send the information needed electronically to the pharmacy along with the prescription, enabling the patient to receive those savings. In most cases, neither the provider nor the patient needs to take any additional action for the savings to be received. If the provider does not send the prescription electronically, he or she is usually able to print a coupon, which the patient can present to the pharmacy to receive the savings.

Full circle of benefits ―Everybody wins!

For the pharmaceutical manufacturers, improved medication adherence means increased sales and a steadily growing revenue stream. For the provider, improved adherence translates into better outcomes, resulting in greater value-based revenue opportunities. As fee-for-service reimbursements evolve toward value-based payments, providers will be even more motivated to encourage their patients to adhere to the prescribed medication regimen. Better patient medication adherence results in improved disease management and population health, resulting in better outcomes reporting, and ultimately higher provider care management and revenue. Patient savings programs are a win-win-win for providers, drug manufacturers, and most importantly, patients.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers intensify partnering with EHR vendors

Because of the importance of patient medication adherence, it is now incumbent on EHR vendors to support patient savings programs in their EHR systems. For programs that require patient education, the pharmaceutical manufacturer will provide advance educational materials to the providers before that program is made available in the EHR system.

To learn more, ask your pharmaceutical reps about their patient savings programs. Be sure to educate your patients about the patient savings programs you have imbedded in your EHR.

Please note: Currently, most patient savings programs are applicable only to patients covered by commercial insurance. Patients on Medicare Part D, Medicaid, or other government drug programs cannot benefit from most patient savings programs.