How a New Technology Can Keep Pharmacists in the Front Lines


Surescripts has unveiled a new prescription benefit and prior authorization solution.

Surescripts is partnering with five leading electronic health records (EHR) companies with the goal of leveraging information from pharmacy benefit managers CVS Health and Express Scripts, to deliver patient-specific benefit and price information to providers in real-time, at the point-of-care.

Once integrated with the EHR, the solution will display therapeutic alternatives so prescribers and patients can collaborate in choosing a medication that is clinically appropriate and affordable, according to Surescripts.

When used in tandem, Surescripts’s Real-Time Prescription Benefit, Prior Authorization, and E-Prescribing, will enable prescribers to see what a medication will cost the patient based on their specific health plan coverage, and select the most affordable medication that meets the patient’s therapeutic need.

When the most suitable and affordable medication is selected, if an authorization is still needed, it could be addressed during the office visit within the EHR workflow. The prescription is then sent to the pharmacy. The patient can then leave the doctor’s office knowing that their medication choice, and price, will be covered by their insurance.

Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts, told Drug Topics that these new solutions will help community pharmacists maintain their critical role as front-line care providers by streamlining their medication dispensing process-allowing them to spend more time counseling and treating patients. By optimizing the prescribing process, Skelton said that pharmacists can ensure patients receive the right drug at the right time.

“These new solutions improve the prescription decision making process, so pharmacists are able to practice at the top of their license and avoid difficult conversations with patients who may otherwise experience “sticker shock” at the pharmacy counter and ultimately not pick-up their medications,” said Skelton. He added that they will also help improve workflow efficiency for pharmacists by avoiding the additional time and cost incurred when they manually consult with a prescriber to process a prescription.

In a statement, Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health, said the company is “excited about the prospect of being able to provide physicians and patients with information during the office visit, at the point of prescribing, which can enable them to select a medication that is both effective for the patient’s condition and affordable. This visibility can help streamline the patient’s access to care and can ultimately help improve medication adherence.”

Surescripts EHR partners are Allscripts, Cerner, GE, Epic, and Aprima Medical Software.

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