Millions of people across the globe have been staying home the last few months. Now, countries are beginning to start the recovery process and people are adapting to our new normal where public events are almost non-existent and face-masks are mandatory. We are living through extraordinary times in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everything from our daily routines, to our economy, to our healthcare infrastructure.
As our country begins to get back on its feet, just this year, over 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment (NYTimes). Some of those people may continue to get health insurance through their former employers’ COBRA option, but many are looking for ways to reduce spending – on healthcare or otherwise – until they have a steady source of income. What is clear is that with so many people under- and unemployed, large portions of the population are spending less overall (NYTimes).
While the correlation between unemployment rates and retail sales of prescription drugs has not been widely studied, we know that many prescription medications are expensive, and cost is often cited as the primary reason why individuals choose to not pick-up their prescription orders. And cost is rising – from 2012 to 2017 alone, net prices of drugs went up a median of 76% (Scripps Research). In these unprecedented times, no person should have to choose between life-saving medications and other basic necessities – but that decision is being made now more than ever.
RxRevu is beginning to aggregate and analyze large quantities of data about how COVID-19 is shifting the prescribing landscape, and we are already seeing trends in changing patient behavior. We know that patients are becoming more cost-conscious, they are more willing to see their doctors virtually, and they are looking to adapt their typical behaviors to stay safe (Washington Post). Further, we’ve heard from our health system partners that while patient volumes are slowly beginning to rise, worries about prescription costs have remained the same.
RxRevu offers one solution that health systems can implement to immediately relieve some of the pressure around prescription cost, medication abandonment, and adherence. RxRevu’s Real-Time Prescription Benefit (RTPB) brings patient-specific, out-of-pocket cost information into the clinician’s EHR workflow, allowing for conversations around affordability to occur during the visit. Through this service, clinicians can see what the patient’s responsibility is, factoring in where they are against their insurance deductible or copay. When a cheaper medication option is clinically appropriate and available, clinicians can make the switch in one-click, instead of waiting for patients to abandon the medication or coordinate with the pharmacy for a cheaper option.
While RxRevu’s coverage network includes over 120 million patients, for those that are uninsured or under-insured, RxRevu leverages a partnership with GoodRx to show cash discount pricing within the EHR. Too many clinicians waste precious time searching for GoodRx coupons outside of their EHR browser. To eliminate this behavior, we have fully integrated discount pricing into the care workflow to streamline the prescribing process and show low-cost options regardless of coverage.
By allowing cost conversations to happen earlier in the care journey, RxRevu makes it easy for clinicians and pharmacy staff to deliver medications without sticker shock. With difficult financial decisions and trade-offs becoming the norm, health systems must move quickly implement tools that allow for increased price transparency and reductions in patient costs.
Reach out today to learn how RxRevu can help facilitate better cost conversations with your patients.
Written by Lori Murphy MPH, Director of Provider Growth