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Health IT Adoption of Surescripts Price Transparency Tool Surges

Health IT adoption of Surescripts’ prescription price transparency tool has spiked significantly since the tool’s launch last year.

Health IT adoption of Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit tool has increased fortyfold in a year.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Surescripts is experiencing a surge in new users as health IT adoption of its Real-Time Prescription Benefit tool increases fortyfold in a year.

Prescribers have so far used the tool 30 million times to view patient-specific price and therapeutic alternative information since the EHR-integrated tool’s launch in 2017.

EHR vendors comprising 77 percent of the market share have signed on to allow users to leverage the tool to improve cost transparency, including Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, and NextGen Healthcare.

The tool gives prescribers access to patient-specific, formulary-based benefit and cost information for 70 percent of covered individuals nationwide.

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and health plans including CVS Health, DST, Express Scripts, and Navitus Health Solutions provide information for providers.

“Our differentiated Real-Time Prescription Benefit solution, combined with Electronic Prior Authorization and E-Prescribing, is designed to deliver patient-specific, accurate and formulary-based price and therapeutic alternative information at the point of care while protecting prescriber and patient choice,” said Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts.

“Together with our partners, the Surescripts Network Alliance has achieved a breakthrough in prescription price transparency that benefits patients and providers with greater efficiency, reduced costs, and increased satisfaction,” Skelton added.

PBM members part of CVS Health have saved an average of $130 per prescription fill when using the tool to switch to lower-cost therapeutic alternatives. Additionally, CVS reported prescribers using the tool switch to a covered drug 75 percent of the time when the initially-prescribed  medication is not part of the member’s formulary.

“Realizing the potential to make medications more affordable for members, we are now offering Real-Time Prescription Benefit to all of our clients,” said Navitus Vice President of Provider Services Alan Van Amber. “We’re pleased that this solution will provide greater transparency when it comes to prescription costs and empower providers and members to make more cost-effective decisions.”

In situations where a patient’s medication is covered by their insurance but a lower-cost option is available, prescribers switch patients to the more affordable medication 40 percent of the time.

“At Express Scripts, it is our long-standing mission to make healthcare less costly and less complicated for our plans and members,” said Express Scripts Chief Physician Experience Officer Lynne Nowak, MD.  

“Access to real-time information that can direct patients to the most clinically appropriate and cost-effective therapy, delivered conveniently and at the most important points in their care continuum, activates their best intentions and leads to better health outcomes,” Nowark added.

Real-Time Prescription Benefit enables clinicians to quickly determine whether a prior authorization is needed and view therapeutic alternatives that may not require a prior authorization. Clinicians can access and use the tool directly within their provider workflows.

 “Both Real-Time Prescription Benefit and Electronic Prior Authorization – which is 11 times faster than traditional prior authorization processes and returns decisions in under two minutes – are a win for physicians, payers and patients,” said Nowark.

Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit, Electronic Prior Authorization, and E-Prescribing tools help to simplify prescribing processes for providers and minimize administrative burden.

While Allscripts, Epic, Cerner, and other EHR vendors rely on Surescripts to improve price transparency, other EHR vendors are looking to other prescription information solutions providers to better manage the cost of care.

Earlier this week, MEDITECH announced users of its Expanse EHR offering now have access to an EHR-integrated pricing tool through a collaboration with DrFirst.

DrFirst’s myBenefitCheck solution functions as a real-time benefit check tool and presents prescribers with prescription price information, as well as therapeutic alternatives based on patients’ medical needs, insurance coverage, and medication costs.

The tool is the second collaborative effort between MEDITECH and DrFirst.

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