Closing The Loop on Patient Engagement: Overcoming the PA Washout

By Dan Rubin, CEO

As pharmaceutical marketing has evolved from “selling pills” to assuring that medications actually get dispensed and taken by patients, many brands have layered patient engagement and support programs into the marketing mix to assist with a range of issues including patient education, therapeutic support, benefit verification, financial assistance, and adherence support. Many brands utilize a patient support program (sometimes referred to as a “patient hub”) as a single point of contact for patients to access these support services online or via 800 numbers. Beyond receiving general product/condition education prior to therapy initiation, patients frequently use these support programs to verify insurance coverage, understand whether prior authorization is required, obtain co-pay cards, or explore the potential availability of Medicare tier exceptions.

While patient support programs often claim to address patient access issues such as PA, they usually fail to result in high physician submission and approval rates. After performing a patient-specific benefit verification and determining that a PA is required, the typical action is to fax a PA form to the prescriber. Similarly, if the patient is covered by Medicare and might be eligible for a lower co-pay from a tier exception (TE), they typically fax the Medicare Coverage Determination form to the practice. In either case, practices frequently do not follow through on the PA or TE request due to the burdensome submission and follow up process required by the managed care (or Medicare) plan. As a result, the PA doesn’t get submitted and the patient gets switched to an alternative therapy or abandons treatment altogether.

One brand utilized an innovative program to drive more prescriptions by integrating a full-service PA support program based on the result of their benefit investigation. Prior to implementing this new program, the brand reported that physician PA submission rates were very low and when a PA was submitted, approval rates averaged around 50-60 percent.

Results. After implementing the new program, the brand saw significant increases in both PA submission and approval rates. Physicians submitted PAs more than 50 percent of the time after receiving a notification from the service provider. Over 42 weeks, physicians submitted a total of 952 PAs independently (without receiving any notifications). After receiving notifications, physicians submitted an incremental 4,967 PAs, with a 75 percent average approval rate.

Overall, the program resulted in nearly 4,000 incremental approved PAs, which translated into approximately 10,000+ incremental TRx’s. The brand’s return on investment in the program was sixteen to one, and more importantly, approximately 4,000 patients ended up receiving the medication their physician deemed best, instead of a substitute therapy or abandoning therapy altogether.

When left on their own, many practices will not deal with the cumbersome process of completing and submitting PAs. A service that makes this process more streamlined and less time consuming for physicians and their staff will lead to higher PA submission rates and more prescriptions dispensed.

Many pharma brands have already created patient support programs that address patient coverage issues.  Adding an effective PA service can be a small incremental step that yields large benefits from more patients on therapy, less physician frustration, and fewer prescriptions being substituted or abandoned.

The above is excerpted from an article by Dan Rubin, President and CEO, PARx Solutions, appearing on PharmExec.com. To read the complete article, please go to: http://www.pharmexec.com/closing-loop-patient-engagement-overcoming-pa-washout.

Generating High PA Approval Rates: Important But Not Sufficient

Pharmaceutical Executive | Dan Rubin | March 28, 2018

pharmacy-pa-problemsFor many pharmaceutical brands, managed care restrictions put tremendous pressure on the ability for patients to access prescribed medications, even when their physicians deem a particular medication to be best suited to treat their condition. To combat this challenge, many brands have engaged third parties to implement programs designed to assist physician practices with managing the cumbersome prior authorization (PA) process. While these programs may help generate higher PA approval rates, this metric alone is insufficient in evaluating whether the program is truly beneficial to patients and impactful for the sponsoring brand.  Read the full article

New Podcast Series: Meeting the Prior Authorization Challenge – A Prescription for Patients and Physicians

By Dan Rubin, CEO

As part of our dedication to providing physician practices with the insights they need to lessen the impact of PAs on office workflow and most importantly, to better ensure that patients received the medications their doctors deem best for their treatment, my colleagues and I have unveiled a free podcast series entitled “Meeting the Prior Authorization Challenge: A Prescription for Patients and Physicians“. The series consists of short, insightful conversations with members of the PARx Solutions team, doctors, and practice staff.

Prior authorizations aren’t going away, so it is essential that physician offices empower themselves to better handle the process. Who better to hear from on PAs than doctors and practice managers managing this process on a daily basis? By giving a voice to their frustrations, we hope to raise awareness of the solutions PARx offers at no cost to physician offices.

Topics thus far addressed in the podcast series include:

Episode One: What is PARx Solutions, and why do I need it?
Yours truly launches the podcast series by explaining what prior authorization are and the challenges they raise for physician practices. I also provide an overview of the service provided by PARx Solutions is and how it helps improve practice workflow and patient access to prescribed medications.

Episode Two: Prior authorizations and ophthalmology
Ophthalmologist Dr. Bingjing Roberts weighs in on the importance of prior authorization within her line of medicine and highlights how working with a PA provider has been helpful in ensuring her patients receive the prescriptions they need.

Episode Three: A practice staff member’s perspective
Ophthalmic Assistant Jeanette Key explains how PARx Solutions’ customer service team is fundamental to her practice better ensuring its patients receive the medications their physician prescribes.

Take a listen, and let me know what you think! Have a topic you’d like addressed in a future podcast? Drop a line to ariane@warnerpr.com with your suggestion and feedback.

Episode Three: A practice staff member’s perspective

Ophthalmic Assistant Jeanette Key explains how PARx Solutions’ customer service team is fundamental to her practice better ensuring its patients receive the medications their physician prescribes.

Note: This audio player is not supported in Internet Explorer 8 and earlier versions.

Tackling the Prior Authorization Challenge: A Critical Task for Pharma

Pharmaceutical Executive | Dan Rubin | May 4, 2017

our-solutionsTalk with busy physicians and you’ll soon hear about the ever-increasing difficulty in getting approval for the medications that they believe are most appropriate for their patients. For pharma marketers, a superior efficacy, side effect and dosing profile is a necessary start, and a favorable managed care formulary position can be another positive step toward commercial success—but, more and more frequently, a prior authorization (PA) request must be approved before a medication can be dispensed and taken by the patient.  Read Article

OptimizeRx Partners with PARx Solutions to Bring Prior Authorization Services to Point of Care

OptimizeRx and PARx

ROCHESTER, Mich., April 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OptimizeRx Corp. (OTCQB:OPRX), the leading digital health aggregator of sponsored services in the electronic health records (EHR) space, has partnered with PARx Solutions to allow more than 500,000 healthcare providers in the OptimizeRx EHR network to manage the prescription prior authorization process more effectively and efficiently.  Read Article