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Physician awareness of Rx costs boosts patient compliance


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Taking steps to lower the cost of patient prescriptions can lessen the cost burden to patients, their insurers, and to the overall health system. 

Addressing the problem of RX Costs

Maintaining accurate information about prescription costs requires time — a precious commodity for today’s harried clinician — but the benefits to patients can more than offset the added effort. As a physician there are certain actions you can take:

Discuss the prescription’s retail cost with the patient. Make sure you ask if the cost will present a significant financial burden before writing the script.

Prescribe generics when available. Generic drug costs are typically a fraction of their brand-name sources. Walmart and Target both offer hundreds of generics at discounted rates. But for patients to benefit, you must prescribe generics that are included on these retailers’ lists.

Conduct an office-based survey of local pharmacies. This will help you determine the retail cost of the practice’s most frequently prescribed drugs. You can also request that a survey be conducted periodically under the auspices of your local medical society.

Develop a digital database of copays. Doing this will enable you to quickly determine the copays of major payors.

Improving Patient Care

With the dual mandate of improving patient care and doing no harm, it’s critical that you develop a sensitivity to cost issues. This alone can appreciably enhance your patients’ sense of confidence in you and keep them returning to your practice.

In addition, it’s likely that you’ll see greater patient compliance with taking their prescriptions because the drugs are more affordable.

Finally, from a broader economic perspective, taking steps to lower the cost of patient prescriptions can lessen the cost burden to patients, to their insurers and to the overall health system. Given the staggering amount that Americans spend on medical care, any incremental cost-containment successes will go far in enhancing the overall economy.

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Tagged with: Healthcare Consulting