Fixing a Broken System with Technology

March 20, 2018

Technology can help patients who need specialty pharmacy medications get them faster by streamlining the processes involved.

I am the founder and CEO of a specialty prescription technology startup called ZappRx. We work with specialty pharmacists to help them, along with providers and payers, with the cumbersome process of specialty prescribing for patients who need life-saving treatments.

Back when I was working on Wall Street, a close family member was diagnosed with a debilitating rare disease. It took nearly 6 months before the medication prescribed to him was received. What infuriated me throughout that process was why it took so long and how could the healthcare process be so defective that it withheld medications from a very sick person. I reset my career focus and came up with the concept of ZappRx. My hope was that we could help patients avoid what my family went through and get medications in days, not weeks or months.

Specialty prescribing is a lengthy process consisting of drawn out paperwork, inefficient transmission of information, and unnecessary delays across the board. Once patients receive a diagnosis and a prescription, it can take at least six to eight weeks for them to access the therapy they need.

So, what can we do to fix this issue? Can we leverage today’s smart and fast technology and apply it to this broken process? In a sector of healthcare as high risk as specialty medications, we need effective leaders to drive progress.

For specialty pharma prescribing, technology can streamline processes that once required paperwork and faxing into digital signatures and quick turnaround prescriptions. Pharmacists facilitate the process and get the prescription filled. If a pharmacist can’t read what the physician prescribed or what the prior authorization (PA) form states, how can he or she sign off on a treatment? As innovators, we understand and we’re identifying better ways to increase efficiency on the pharmacy end as well as for providers, payers, and patients:

  • Prior Authorization: The current PA process requires hours of paperwork and faxing, causing serious administrative delays. Digital tools that include the PA process automatically, like ZappRx, help expedite this process and get the right medication to the right patient as quickly as possible.
  • Digital Signatures: Once a patient is diagnosed, it’s often hard to capture the patient’s signature in-office. With a tool that includes digital signatures, patients can sign forms from their own device, allowing the process to move as quickly as possible. This can make the pharmacist’s work much simpler.
  • Transparency: Through outdated faxing and because there are no systems in place to track the status of enrollment forms, PA requests, and more, the specialty prescribing process is rarely as transparent as it should be. The right technology streamlines the process from the moment a patient is diagnosed to the moment the patient has the medication in hand. Given the severity of their medical conditions for many of these patients, it’s imperative that each stakeholder knows the status of their prescription.

What matters is that these patients receive their medications in a timely fashion. By adopting and using the right technology, we can increase operational efficiency and better serve the health of patients. There is a bright future ahead and I’m excited to continue to see the progress being made.