CVS Health adds real-time, member-specific drug pricing into e-prescribing

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A new initiative to put individualized drug pricing data in front of prescribers is part of a larger effort by Surescripts, PBMs and EHR vendors.

CVS Health plans to integrate real-time pricing data into electronic prescribing, allowing physicians to see how much a drug will cost patients before they prescribe it.

CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefits manager owned by CVS Health, will begin integrating member-specific medication costs directly into physicians' e-prescribing workflow, revealing the cost of a drug based on the patient’s coverage along with branded and generic alternatives. The PBM is also rolling out a streamlined approach to electronic prior authorization requests for alternative medications.

Beginning in 2018, pharmacists at CVS retail pharmacies will be able to see a list of clinically appropriate alternatives provided to the prescriber along with the out-of-pocket costs for the patient.

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The new initiative is an effort to provide patients, prescribers and pharmacists with more comprehensive information to improve medication adherence and drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

"Making detailed, real-time benefit information available for our PBM members and their healthcare team, whether it's the doctor or the pharmacist, can help streamline the patient experience and improve health outcomes while also lowering costs for both the patient and the payor,” Troyen Brennan, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in an announcement.

The effort is part of a broader partnership announced earlier this month between Surescripts, CVS Health, Express Scripts and six EHR vendors to integrate prescriptions drug costs at the point of care. Epic, Allscripts, Cerner, GE Healthcare, Practice Fusion and Aprima have all committed to integrating this capability in 2018 for patients whose pharmacy benefits are managed by CVS or Express Scripts.

CVS Health CIO Stephen J. Gold has said innovation is his top priority since taking over the position in 2012, highlighting the benefits of collecting and analyzing data on patients’ prescription behaviors. CVS has also expanded its partnership with the Cleveland Clinic to enhance interoperability for patients that access care through Minute Clinics.