Written By: Denise Taylor, MSN
As patients’ primary contacts on the care team, nurses and practice staff are key to helping patients to access the therapies they need.1 This includes helping patients navigate numerous challenges in the areas of prescription access and affordability—challenges that are further exacerbated when dealing with specialty medications.
Specialty medications make up less than 3% of all prescriptions in the United States, but they still account for more than 50% of the nation’s drug spending.2-5 Experts estimate that specialty medications total about 75% of the approximately 7,000 prescription drugs currently in development. By 2022, it’s predicted that more than 60% of the 600 drugs expected to receive approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be specialty medications.5
Specialty medications tend to be more scientifically complex than other prescriptions, often going beyond merely treating a disease’s symptoms to treat its underlying cause.6 They are frequently expensive, require special handling, and their use may require additional monitoring. Consequently, they are normally distributed by specialized pharmacies.7-9
Patients often must wait weeks to get their prescribed specialty medication.1,9 Facilitating the prescription may require the physician to fill out a variety of different forms, then access online portals for multiple different stakeholders. The entire process can take weeks, placing an intense administrative burden on both clinical and non-clinical practice staff, who must spend time every week on back-and-forth calls and faxes, chasing down signatures, and providing other manual support required to see specialty prescriptions through to fulfillment.9
Now, technology solutions are available to support the care team as they advocate for their patients’ specialty medication needs.
Impact of specialty medications
Specialty medications are impacting today’s medical practices:10
- Nine out of ten physicians surveyed said that patient medication adherence would improve if specialty medication prescriptions could be filled more easily and delivered to patients more quickly.
- 89% of physicians surveyed said clinical outcomes would improve if specialty medication prescriptions could be filled more easily and delivered to patients more quickly.
- 84% of physicians surveyed reported that manually completing paper documentation for specialty medications has a negative impact on their practice.
- Four out of five physicians surveyed said they have avoided or delayed prescribing a specialty medication because of the administrative burdens of prior authorization, patient assistance, or pharmacy enrollments.
Nurses are trusted providers who spend the most time with patients. As such, their time is precious. Many nurses devote a significant amount of time staying informed of the details of their patients’ prescription medications, including:
- Patients’ benefit information
- Patients’ prior authorization requirements
- Drug sunsets and new drug launches
Nurses’ commitment to providing fully informed prescribing ensures that care teams have ready access to the information they need to inform optimal prescribing decisions, decisions that are based on the individual patients’ health, financial, and coverage circumstances.
However, the complex administrative processes associated with specialty medications detract from valuable face-to-face interaction time between nurses and their patients.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic complicated provider-patient relationships, the amount of time required by nurses to navigate patient insurance benefits and prescription drug benefits was already a source of dissatisfaction for nurses and other practice staff. Given their critical role in point-of-prescribing interactions, no nurse should feel they’ve become an “administrative assistant,” as one described the experience.
Supporting patient advocacy by supporting the care team
Fortunately, today’s technology provides a way to support patient advocacy in the area of specialty medications by supporting the healthcare team and simplifying their responsibilities.
Veradigm’s AccelRx™ is a unique software solution for managing specialty medications. It provides technology to streamline the specialty medication fulfillment process. It does so by automating and simplifying the complex series of steps required to fill a specialty medication.1,11,12 This reduces patient wait times. It also substantially reduces the administrative burden on nurses, healthcare providers, and practice staff.7,11,12
Veradigm leverages broad industry relationships to combine electronic enrollment, consent, and prescriptions into a single software platform that delivers faster time-to-fulfillment for all specialty drugs, with all payers.12 AccelRx’s single, user-friendly platform can transform your practice’s specialty medication management:1,7,9,12
- It can be accessed as part of your existing electronic health records (EHR) workflow.
- It allows users to populate patient data automatically on enrollment and other forms with a single click.
- It enables users to send specialty medication prescriptions directly to the desired specialty pharmacy.
- The flexible technology is capable of interoperability with any payer, specialty pharmacy, or specialty medication hub.
These features allow healthcare providers to deliver specialty medications to their patients more quickly and easily.7,9,12 Faster time-to-therapy delivers better odds for medication adherence and for positive outcomes for your patients. It also decreases the number of phone calls and faxes required for nurses and practice staff.12
AccelRx supports nurses by making the specialty medication fulfillment process more efficient, thereby freeing up time to spend on patient care. The additional time spent focusing on patients can help improve their health outcomes. To learn more about how AccelRx can help the care team at your medical practice support your patients’ specialty medication needs, contact us.
- Veradigm AccelRx™—Reduce Patient Wait Times for Specialty Medications. Veradigm. Updated November 3, 2020. Accessed August 30, 2021, https://veradigm.com/reduce-patient-wait-times-for-specialty-medications/.
- New Specialty Products and Continued Growth. Directions in Specialty Pharmacy. February 2020;3(1).
- New drugs and new indications drive specialty. CVSHealth. Updated April 30, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021, https://cvshealth.com/news-and-insights/articles/drug-trend-report-2020-new-drugs-and-new-indications-drive-specialty.
- Medicine Use and Spending in the U.S.: A Review of 2018 and Outlook to 2023 Institute Report. May 9, 2019. https://www.iqvia.com/en/insights/the-iqvia-institute/reports/medicine-use-and-spending-in-the-us-a-review-of-2018-and-outlook-to-2023.
- Alaparthi K. How tech-driven hubs in specialty pharmacy can improve the patient experience. MedCity News. Updated July 26, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021, https://medcitynews.com/2021/07/how-tech-driven-hubs-in-specialty-pharmacy-can-improve-the-patient-experience/.
- Raper A. Specialty Medications: Hope for Patients, Hurdle for Healthcare. covermymeds. Updated March 22, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021, https://insights.covermymeds.com/healthcare-technology/specialty-therapy/specialty-medications-hope-for-patients-hurdle-for-healthcare.
- Pasquariello T. Why Does it Take So Long to Receive a Specialty Medication? Veradigm. Updated June 9, 2020. Accessed August 30, 2021, https://veradigm.com/veradigm-news/specialty-medication-fulfillment-service/.
- Pasquariello T. Specialty Med Q&A. Veradigm. Updated April 8, 2020. Accessed August 30, 2021, https://veradigm.com/veradigm-news/specialty-med-questions-answers/.
- Veradigm AccelRx™—Streamlining Specialty Medications for Patients. Veradigm. Updated October 20, 2020. Accessed August 30, 2021, https://veradigm.com/specialty-medications-for-patients/.
- Results of Veradigm ePrescribe physician user survey, conducted July 2020. Data on file. Veradigm.
- Allscripts announces Veradigm AccelRx™ to help reduce patient wait times for specialty medications. Veradigm; March 4, 2020. https://veradigm.com/veradigm-news/veradigm-accelrx-release/.
- Get Patients All Their Specialty Medications Faster and More Easily—And Get Your Focus Back Where it Belongs. Veradigm. Accessed August 30, 2021, https://veradigm.com/accelrx/.