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Cerner Bringing Prescription Drug Pricing to Point of Care

A new collaboration CoverMyMeds builds on Cerner’s previous work to improve prescription pricing transparency at the point of care.

Cerner electronic prescribing in EHR system

Source: Cerner

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- On Thursday, the Kansas City-based company announced that a CoverMyMeds solution for reviewing prescription pricing information during a doctor’s visit would be integrated into its electronic prescribing tool, Cerner ePrescribe.

Additional information from industry stakeholders such as pharmacy networks and health payers will enable providers to discuss with the patients the cost of their medications under their current benefits plan.

“As health care spending increases, the need for prescription price transparency is becoming as important as ever. Access to valuable pricing information gives health care providers the opportunity to provide their patients with up-to-date information on the most appropriate and cost-effective medications before they reach the pharmacy,” said Cerner Chief Client Officer John Peterzalek.

“This collaboration with CoverMyMeds,” he continued, “further solidifies our commitment to working to empower the consumer in making the most informed health care decisions possible and improve the consumer experience.”

Roughly 261 health systems and hospitals and 1,600 clinics are currently using the tool, which is available to be integrated into the Cerner Millennium health IT system at no charge.

“We are collaborating with Cerner to help providers make personalized decisions for each of their patients when writing a prescription or creating a treatment plan,” said Miranda Gill, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CoverMyMeds Director of Clinical Innovation,

“It is difficult for providers to have informed discussions with their patients that would help drive adherence when they don’t have accurate visibility into prescription price information and available assistance programs,” she added. “We provide patient-specific benefit information to help inform providers’ clinical decisions and communication with patients that help solve for costly nonadherence, and ultimately help patients receive the medications they need to be healthy.”

The collaboration is similar to one announced nearly a year ago by Cerner and Surescripts. The Kansas City health IT company revealed the integration of the Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit directly into a clinician’s workflow to provide patient-specific prescription information at the point of care.

“Surescripts is excited to join forces with Cerner to provide physicians with actionable intelligence about prescription pricing and therapeutic alternatives,” said Surescripts Chief Product Officer Mike Pritts. “The ability for physicians to access patient-specific prescription pricing information directly in their workflow supports a more meaningful dialogue and medication decision between the patient and the provider and is a huge step toward improving medication adherence.”

Similar to the collaboration with CoverMyMeds, the goal of the Cerner/Surescripts partnership was to improve provider-patient interaction and patient engagement so as to avoid medication non-adherence tied to the inability to afford prescription drugs. The functionality worked for those individuals whose plans were connected.

“Cerner and Surescripts are transforming prescription price transparency at the point of care to improve the consumer and provider experience,” said former Cerner President Zane Burke at the time. “Each person needs to be at the center of their own health and care. With this new functionality in the EHR, not only will people have added visibility to their choices of prescriptions, but individuals can work together with their physicians to create a medication plan they can adhere to and afford.”

In this scenario, RTPB was incorporated in Cerner Millennium and ePrescribe in March 2018.

A GoodRx survey from November found that 40 percent or more of United States citizens have difficulty affording their prescription drugs despite having access to health benefits. Additionally, one-third identified cost as the reason for skipping the purchase of a prescription one or more times, a red flag that could lead to costly medical interventions should a person’s condition deteriorate and require emergency care.

The affordability of prescription drugs is going to remain an issue throughout 2019. Several dozen pharmaceutical companies are planning to raise their prices again in 2019 after temporarily holding off on increases as a result of federal pressure. Nearly thirty drug makers, including Novartis, Bayer, and GlaxoSmithKline have filed notifications with the state of California that prescription drug prices will increase.

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