The rising cost of healthcare coverage continues to outpace income levels, making affordability challenges more common for patients. From 2010 to 2020, average wage growth increased 27 percent while average employer deductibles increased 111 percent. In 2019, Americans with employer-sponsored insurance met their healthcare deductible after an average of five months — nearly two months longer than in 2009.
As patients experience greater financial responsibility for their healthcare, they’re becoming more active decision makers. They expect the same consumer experience and convenience in many other aspects of their lives — from shopping and ordering food to hailing a cab and even how they listen to music.
The rise in people becoming consumers of healthcare has increased the demand for access to information and care options, with affordability often top-of-mind. People expect more control, more options and maximum transparency in their healthcare journey.
To learn more about solutions that can give care teams the ability to help patients overcome access and affordability challenges, read the 2021 Medication Access Report: Healthcare Technology edition.
Overcoming access and affordability issues at the point of care
Healthcare providers are often asked to support patients with cost and convenience information at the point of care. Helping patients at this moment in time can address access and affordability challenges before a person picks up their prescription at the pharmacy.
In a recent survey of patients and providers, we found that even though 60 percent of patients ask about ways to save money on their medications, more than 40 percent of providers indicate they don’t have the time they need to discuss medications with their patients.
As a result, 67 percent of patients found their prescription more expensive than expected when they went to pick it up — with more than a third of patients abandoning their prescriptions.
Patient-centered technology solutions can help address these expectations and deliver better care. They can do this by informing medication conversations between patients and providers, supporting prescribing decisions and creating efficiencies for the patient and their care team.
97% of nurses are tasked with researching and validating clinical and patient information for prescribers.CoverMyMeds 2019 Nurse Survey, 2021 Medication Access Report: Technology Edition
From a provider’s perspective, technology solutions help care teams provide patients with the information they need. They can also proactively prevent access barriers and encourage patients to adhere to their prescribed therapy.
Not only do these innovations have the potential to move patients along their treatment journey faster, but they also improve the patient experience and help build trust and loyalty between the patient and their provider.
Serving as an oncology nurse for nearly a decade, I know these important affordability conversations often fall to nurses.
A recent survey showed 97 percent of nurses are tasked with researching and validating clinical and patient information for prescribers.
On top of that, these research and validation tasks include:
- Drug interactions
- Side effects
- Patient medication history
- Patient plan formulary information
- Prior authorization requirements
Most nurses are using multiple resources to find this important information because it’s historically not been located through a single, trusted source.
Data gaps can contribute to delays in patient access to therapy and burden care teams, leading to burnout.
Centralized access to information is crucial for care teams
I remember how time consuming it was to find and access trusted resources needed to inform patient conversations and prescribing decisions.
We need this type of information in a central location to easily access patient-specific drug information.
Connecting disparate data from across the healthcare network — from biopharma companies to the pharmacy and payers, back to the providers and patients — makes the data actionable.
In turn, this enables patients to play a more active role in their care.
Ultimately, the desire to help patients is what inspired many of us to choose healthcare as a career.
I’m encouraged to see technology solutions emerge to remove barriers and provide centralized access to patient medication information in workflow.
These tools, which exist today, can help nurses and the entire care team better support patients, simplify administrative processes and reduce delays to help get patients on therapy.
Reliable, real-time prescription decision support technology empowers the entire care team to work seamlessly to help people get — and stay on — the medicine they need to live healthier lives.
These solutions also help meet the growing expectation from patients to have transparency into what they’ll pay for their medicine — just like they do when shopping for other goods and services.
Medication affordability will remain a challenge for patients if healthcare premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs continue to rise.
By addressing medication affordability, access and adherence barriers with technology, patients benefit because it enables their consumerism mindset.
They can now share in the decision-making process and actively manage their treatment to achieve better outcomes.
For more information about solutions that can give care teams the ability to help patients overcome access and affordability challenges, read the 2021 Medication Access Report: Healthcare Technology edition.