The next level of value added could be detecting patient non-adherence, treatment conflicts, or medication reconciliation. You also have your RcopiaAC product that allows hospitals to get a full medication history from outside their four walls. Other than patient convenience, what do you see as the next level in terms of patient benefit and improvement of outcomes?
The next level of value that we’re trying to provide is what we call our Patient Innovations platform. This is where we look at the whole compliance and adherence process for the patient and we work to have some impact at each point in that. This is different with e-prescribing versus working off pharmacy claims. With e-prescribing, you have a chance to move the whole thing further forward in the process, because now you’ve got a record of the physician intent and not just what the patient did later.
We have an opportunity when the physician writes a prescription to really give the patient information they need to be comfortable with a therapy. Provide inducements to get that first fill done, which is a big part of the battle, with estimates between 20 and 30 percent of scripts never being filled. And then as the patient is out receiving therapy, we can continue to message the patient. We can provide additional information.
But most importantly, we can give the physician feedback in real time on how the patient is doing in compliance with their therapy. The next time that the patient comes in to see the physician, they’re sitting face to face, the physician looks at his e-prescribing system, and he can see right there whether the patient has been compliant with therapy and can have an interaction.
Giving the physician the tools they need, helping the patient stay highly informed, and then providing rewards and incentives … we’re trying to put that all together into a single platform that we can offer out to the industry rather than just use it inside our own application.
It’s an interesting point from the physician’s perspective. They don’t know if the patient received what they ordered unless the patient tells them. In this age of trying to be accountable for overall coordination of care and wellness, that’s going to be a huge weak link if they don’t even know whether the patient had their prescription filled, their labs drawn, or their images taken. Are physicians ready to take that role on, to get all this information but then be required to follow up if something doesn’t happen?
I’ve been in a number of focus groups or informal discussions with physicians. DrFirst works with many large enterprise organizations, which gives us an opportunity to have talks with people who are pretty sophisticated about this. What typically happens in one of those meetings is the physicians will all agree right away, “This is a great idea. We want to know whether the patients are compliant with therapy.”
And then one physician will sit back, kind of cross his arms, and say, “Now wait a minute. Are you creating a whole new demand on me? Are you creating a liability, where I’m going to have to chase down my patients and make them do what I told them to, or that’s going to come back to me in court sometime?” That will generally start a big ruckus in the room.
About half the docs will line up on that side and say, “Look, my patients are adults. They’ll make their own decisions. I just tell them what’s best in my opinion and it’s up to them whether to comply.” And the other half will say, “No, I want this information no matter what.”
This was confounding for a while. But we found that what would work for all the doctors we talked to was, “When the patient’s back with me, it is then that when I want the information. I don’t have any problem at all knowing it when they’re sitting in my office. I just don’t necessarily want to be expected to track them down outside of my regular encounter time with them.” So we’ve designed our platform specifically to give the physician information when they’re actually engaged with a patient. That seems to meet everybody’s needs.
How would your platform fit in with interoperability projects like HIEs that try to collect a bunch of different information and put it all together?
It’s going to be a little funny to list off platform after platform here, but that’s really how we’re structuring the business going forward — as a series of valuable platforms that people can tap into for the APIs and be able to offer these things up in a way that makes sense within their own systems.
We have a messaging platform that hasn’t quite launched yet. That’s the product that will tie all of our data back in the HIEs. We’re in the process of just cleaning up the APIs and getting our software toolkit together. We’ll be making that available to the industry very soon. It’s a very flexible system, with some really exciting capabilities well beyond what anyone else is doing. we believe. We’re excited to offer that. We see the need and that’s why we put the additional platform together.
About Irene Froehlich:
Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
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