As a new year begins, there’s an opportunity on the horizon for health systems: the prescription experience. Every prescription is an opportunity to pull patients through a digital front door and increase patient engagement and retention.
Of the many pressures facing health administrators, the prescription is actionable. It’s the moment in a patient’s health journey where the health system can build sustainable trust with the patient, with the potential to create a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
But how can health systems unlock a better, more transparent prescription experience for patients, in turn supplying clinicians with more complete adherence information? Technology holds the key.
Prescription technology puts the patient at the center of their care, helping impact costs
The era of healthcare consumerism has (finally) arrived. Patients are demanding information and access, and health systems must deliver it. Prescriptions offer a valuable way to create a new digital front door for patients and increase return on investment for digital innovation.
Let’s use “meds to beds” as a scenario. In this moment when the patient is leaving the hospital, a medical professional, ideally a pharmacist, puts the right medications in their hand, rather than relying on the patient to fill the prescription. Here’s where technology can play a key role: The pharmacist or tech handing off the medication could enroll the patient in a mobile or digital health experience that gives control of the medication to the patient in a digital medicine cabinet. Refills, prescription information, price information and more become readily available to the patient on their phone, in turn putting them at the center of their experience.
Technology can “bridge the gap” from when the patient leaves the health system and goes home, helping them stay adherent, reducing readmission rates, and driving down costs.
1. Prescription information can help health systems impact adherence Health systems can impact digital engagement from an adherence and affordability perspective with a prescription experience that’s personalized, predictable and trackable. Currently, there’s not much, if any, information shared back to clinicians on the prescription – if the patient picked it up, if it was effective, if it was refilled. But here’s another moment that technology can bridge the gap.
The idea of prescription portability – a portable prescription that the patient controls through their phone — offers an opportunity to not only put the patient at the center of their care but also get information back to health professionals on prescription adherence, providing data that can impact the care journey. Closing the loop with this critical adherence information will help health systems make better decisions about prescriptions going forward.
2. When the patient is empowered, the clinician is empowered, too
Empowering the patient with technology is great. But what’s in it for clinicians? They’re empowered to focus more on patient care – because they can spend less time on medication management. And in the age of clinician burnout, health systems must find ways to decrease the load.
Currently, many care teams are doing patient medication management manually, on their own. But as any dedicated provider or prescriber will tell you, the mission is to serve the patients – not spend endless time on backend work.
When patients are at the center of their prescription experience, health systems can decrease the mental load for clinicians. A portable prescription means the patient takes on the decision-making process of understanding their insurance plan’s coverage, where to send the prescription, the cost, how to pay for it (using insurance or paying in cash, finding a discount card or coupon, etc.), and more. As the patient gets more empowered and takes control, the clinician’s load decreases.
And it’s not just the prescriber who will benefit. When a patient arrives at the pharmacy counter understanding their coverage and costs, the back-and-forth calls or faxes between pharmacists and prescribers immediately get impacted. That means more time can be spent on patient care – for not just prescribers, but pharmacists, too.
3. The prescription is the biggest opportunity to create sustainable trust with the patient
Trust is one of the issues weighing on health administrators. But I see an opportunity when it comes to the prescription: It is actionable, it is ready for the technology, and it is a place to impact some of the biggest challenges facing health administrators today – including patient experience, physician burnout, adherence and better health outcomes.
About Miranda Rochol, Senior Vice President for Provider Solutions at Prescryptive Health.
Rochol leads the product strategy and sales team for Prescryptive’s mobile-first, blockchain-powered platform that empowers the healthcare consumer with the ability to take ownership of their prescription. Rochol has worked in the healthcare and pharmacy industry for 20 years, holding leadership positions at Healthcare Data Solutions and Walgreens.