The Changing Pharmacy Landscape
The pharmacy sector is undergoing significant changes fueled by the demand for streamlined healthcare processes and innovation, influenced by factors such as the global pandemic and evolving patient needs. Technology solutions play a pivotal role in response to these challenges that have long plagued the prescription (Rx) space, from the beginning of the prescribing process at the point-of-care (POC), through cumbersome prior authorization submissions, to patient medication acquisition and medication adherence. In this blog post, we’ll explore the dynamic shifts in the Rx space, and how they lay the foundation for innovative point-of-care (POC) solutions like Vim.
Peeling Back the Layers of Pharmacy Industry Challenges
Traditional pharmacy models are no longer sufficient to meet the complex needs of today’s healthcare landscape. With an aging population, the rise of chronic diseases, and an increasing focus on preventive care, pharmacies are facing a growing demand for efficient, personalized services. The need for more accessible healthcare solutions has been further accentuated by global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges that have surfaced created a demand for tech solutions in this space:
- Medication Costs and Access to Care: The rising cost of medications, especially specialty drugs like GLP-1 inhibitors, is a significant concern. Increasing out-of-pocket medication costs can deter patients from following their treatment plans, impacting their overall health. Rising costs also trickle throughout the Rx ecosystem, impacting the entire value chain of participants (e.g. provider systems, payers, pharmacies, and more). On top of this, rural and underserved areas face challenges in accessing adequate healthcare services, including pharmacies. This geographic barrier further contributes to health disparities and limited opportunities for early intervention.
- Medication Adherence: Medication adherence, or the extent to which patients take their prescribed medications correctly, is a persistent challenge. Non-adherence can lead to worsened health outcomes, increased healthcare costs, and even preventable hospitalizations. Patients often struggle to manage complex medication regimens, resulting in missed doses and treatment inefficiency.
- Workflow Inefficiencies: Traditional pharmacy workflows are often ripe with inefficiencies, including manual prescription processing, time-consuming administrative tasks, and a lack of seamless communication between healthcare providers, pharmacies, and patients. A good example of this is the prior authorization process, one that CMS has been hyper-focused on through various mandates and new regulations over the past few years. The cumbersome prior authorization process can delay patient access to necessary medications, and create a burden for providers, support staff, and pharmacists alike.
Vim’s mission is to power affordable, high-quality health care through seamless connectivity. We entered the Rx space knowing that setting out to solve the challenges around medication costs, adherence, and accessibility would be a good fit. Our in-EHR cloud-based point-of-care connection platform, expertise, and customer relationships could allow for this problem to be addressed in an entirely new way.
Earlier this year, we asked our customers a simple question about their prescription processes. What could make it better? Then, we set out to change how Rx workflows are managed.
Introducing Vim Rx Assist
We collaborated closely with our customers powering other value-based-care workflows through Vim’s platform, laid out their current state processes, and co-designed an Rx-focused solution that would remove as many pain points and manual steps as possible.
The result is a point-of-care solution we named Vim Rx Assist. Vim’s Rx Assist in-EHR application seamlessly surfaces our customers’ patient-specific medication recommendations and insights at the point of care, saving time and reducing administrative burden. Rx Assist is an easy-to-use application that simplifies medication workflows, helping to lower the total cost of care and improve medication adherence and accessibility.
Vim Rx Assist helps eliminate the manual and out-of-workflow hassle often associated with medication adjustments and interactions between providers and pharmacy teams. Our in-EHR application helps in the following areas:
- Medication Cost Management: Vim’s platform surfaces recommendations that support cost-effective medication selections. By guiding patients toward generic options over specialty drugs, Vim helps our customers reduce the financial burden on patients and healthcare systems.
- Medication Adherence: Vim’s innovative solution also aims to improve patient regimen. Through the platform, providers can receive recommendations for medication administration methods and options that align with their patient’s individual needs and preferences, thereby enhancing adherence.
- Streamlining the Rx Process: Vim’s platform extends its support beyond prescription recommendations. It helps support clinical decision-making by empowering physicians with more information when it matters most – at the point of patient care. This also helps save time and lower burden by replacing phone calls and faxes and interfacing with external information sources.
Vim Beyond Medication Management
Vim’s capabilities today, and what we can build tomorrow, extend well beyond medication management. Our platform can help customers address broader issues, such as Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), and access to care. The point-of-care solutions offered by Vim can help beyond accepting a suspect diagnosis and prescribing a medication; our technology can initiate relevant care management program referrals, highlight benefit flags, and work with customers to identify the best ways to close the care loop for their patients.
While we are focusing initially on managing Rx costs and patient regimens within our newest product offering, we are excited about the ‘art of the possible.’ As we continue developing this solution with additional features and functionality, we will work to bring together the many disparate and cumbersome parts of the overall prescription management process and empower providers with additional insights at their fingertips.
The pharmacy industry is at a crossroads, its challenges requiring a paradigm shift in how healthcare services are delivered. Point-of-care technologies are rising to the occasion, offering innovative solutions that not only address existing challenges but also pave the way for a more provider and patient-centered, efficient, and accessible healthcare future. As Pharmacy Benefit Managers, Provider Systems, Payers, Pharmacies, and Pharmacy-adjacent vendors continue to embrace these technologies, the industry’s landscape is set up for a transformative evolution.