New point-of-care (POC) tools that promote communication between providers and patients are establishing themselves as next generation shared decision-making solutions, especially when it comes to medications and issues of insurance coverage, price, and out-of-pocket costs.
“When compared to traditional shared decision-making tools, there’s an increased emphasis not just on improving measures such as medication adherence by involving the patient in his or her own care but also on using this education and engagement to improve patient satisfaction,” says Chuck Lee, MD, senior director of clinical knowledge and Meducation at First Databank, a San Francisco company medical data company.
Meducation, which uses research-based health literacy approaches to simplify medication instructions, was focused solely on providing key instructional and adherence tools related to medications self-administered at home. Now its new content is designed to directly address Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction questions on newly administered inpatient medications, including 200 new intravenous drug forms and hospital-administered medications.
Lee says that access to these point-of-care tools has been enhanced. With Meducation, all patient education materials are automatically made available through the patient portal or via a standalone portal. It’s a brand new, patient-facing world for these POC tools.
“Many of the older shared decision-making tools were designed to be used exclusively by providers of care and not to interact with patients,” notes Heidi Polek, RPh, senior manager, independent pharmacy solutions for DrFirst, an e-prescribing and patient medication management company in Rockville, Maryland.
A Humana, Epic collaboration
Joel Jones, PharmD, director, population health informatics for Epic, says the new tools are being embedded directly into physicians’ workflows with built-in next steps that allow them to easily and efficiently swap in a more cost-effective drug. Alan Wheatley, president of Humana’s retail segment, agrees that one of the primary old vs. new differences in decision-making tools is that the new ones can be integrated into a physician’s workflow. There’s also added interoperability.
Humana has partnered with Epic to integrate IntelligentRX, its real-time benefits check tool, into Epic’s e-prescribing workflow. The result is real-time access to a patient’s medical history, health insights, and treatment options.
The EHR software enables clinicians to immediately estimate the cost of a medication and share it with a patient by factoring in copayments, deductibles, and a need for prior authorization. The application sends an alert about less expensive options. The software also helps physicians to avoid gaps in care by, for example, reminding a patient that she is due to have a mammogram soon.
“Our relationship with Humana is an opportunity to help patients and prescribers work more collaboratively with payers, streamline procedures, and integrate information into a doctor’s workflow,” says Jones.
One of the benefits, Jones continues, is limiting prescribing fatigue on the part of providers because they are dealing with information that is accurate and can be acted upon, based on a patient’s coverage. It also promotes communication among payers, clinicians, and patients and puts data on a common platform, he says.
Humana’s Retail Segment President, Alan Wheatley, says there is more interest in the tool than expected, and he anticipates it will improve quality and positively play out in CMS’ Star Rating system.