Author: James Miller, President, PharmaLeaders
While the internet has driven unprecedented levels of pricing transparency for bargain hungry consumers, when it comes to healthcare the prices for procedures and medications has remained opaque at best. In fact the problem has become so widespread that government officials in Washington are considering passing legislation forcing manufacturers to place the list price for medications in their advertising. Of course the list price alone provides just a small correlation to what a given patient might end up paying at the pharmacy.
While attending HIMSS 2019, I had the opportunity to speak with industry leaders hoping to change this medical pricing frustration and working to arm patients and physicians with the same transparency they experience in other parts of their life.
Cameron Deemer, President of DrFirst, explained that their unique platform is focused on the point of encounter: “Whenever a patient receives information about their care related to their therapy we want to be there with our technology.”
As DrFirst has refined their platform over the last 19 years, providing price transparency to both patients and HCPs has become an increasing area of expertise. “The #1 reason patients don’t fill their prescription is because of price. But, typically doctors have no idea what that might cost the patient,” said Deemer.
By coordinating with a wide range of pharmacy benefit managers, DrFirst can help predict and anticipate what a patient’s true out-of-pocket costs will be for a specific prescription.
“On the physician side, the goal of our platform is to show the physician alternatives in terms of price. From there, they may or may not take action. For patients, we are aware when prescriptions are written, and we can then send a text message on their way home from the doctor’s office and give them full price transparency and also some financial assistance. For example, here is co-pay information,” Deemer explains.
The bottom line for pricing transparency is that more patients are filling their prescriptions. According to Deemer, patients interacting with their platform have seen a 23% increase in fulfillment and also a significant reduction in prescription abandonment.
DrFirst is also using its platform technology to help streamline prescription writing in the highly regulated pain management and opioid market. By partnering with state-level Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP), the organization is making it much simpler and less costly for physicians to conform to strict opioid prescribing regulations. As states crack down on opioids, patients with legitimate pain issues are having trouble getting their medications. By expediting PDMP lookups, the DrFirst platform is poised to help solve this challenge.