Prescription drug prices in the US are higher than in any other industrialized nation in the world. Many patients, despite having health insurance, are unable to afford their medications. Indeed, 67% of patients cite high prices as the reason for not taking medications as prescribed. Cost-related medication nonadherence — not filling prescriptions, delaying fills, and skipping or reducing doses due to costs — can have serious adverse consequences for health outcomes. It’s thought to cause at least 100,000 deaths and $100 billion in preventable medical costs annually. Nonadherence due to prescription drug costs also leads to higher mortality rates for patients with chronic illnesses. All of this underlines how critical it is to find ways to make medications more accessible for patients so they can recover, stay healthy and avoid rehospitalization.
What to look for in a medication savings program
Medication savings programs can address these issues head-on by matching patients with ready-to-use savings at the pharmacy, leading to a higher likelihood they will take life-saving medications as prescribed. To ensure you’re selecting an effective medication savings program, here’s what to consider:
- A digital approach: Look for a program that leverages digital tools to tackle cost-related medication nonadherence. By sharing recommendations with patients via SMS, patients will be equipped to compare prices and make financially prudent choices for their prescriptions.
- Personalized savings: The ideal medication savings program should digitally connect patients with the best savings programs tailored to their prescribed medications, insurance, and pharmacy preferences. Personalization ensures that patients receive relevant savings options that fit their specific needs.
- Integration with existing systems: Creating more efficiency and consolidating workflows is top of mind for many healthcare leaders. Ensure that the program you choose seamlessly integrates with your existing patient engagement programs to drive higher medication adherence and reduce unnecessary costs.
- Nationwide pharmacy access: Convenience is crucial for patients. The selected medication savings program should allow prescription drug coverage to be filled at pharmacies across the country. This ensures that patients can access their medications easily, regardless of their location.
- Automation: To reduce the workload on healthcare staff, look for a program that automates the process of matching patients with affordability programs for their prescription medication. Automation not only streamlines the process but also ensures that patients can access savings without unnecessary delays.
The post-visit or post-discharge patient journey
Following a healthcare event, it’s important that health systems create ease for their patients and address cost-related barriers so patients will be more likely to obtain and take their medications. Here’s what an effective post-visit or post-discharge journey should look like for the patient:
- Prescription is written by the doctor during a healthcare visit
- Patient receives a link via SMS to access their personalized recommendations
- Patient can see ways to save on their prescribed medications
- Patient simply shows the pharmacist the instructions that were sent to their phone
- Patients save money, stay on their medication and experience better health outcomes
By harnessing technology, the right medication savings program can play a vital role in promoting better health outcomes for patients, reducing preventable deaths and healthcare costs associated with non-adherence.
For more information about how your health system can support and scale medication access for all patients, find out more about CipherHealth’s Medication Affordability and Adherence Program here.