PHARMACY

Q&A: ScriptPro’s Coughlin talks tech as vehicle for improved patient care

BY DSN STAFF
Between ensuring their patients receive the proper medication, working to improve patient adherence to meet quality measures, offering enhanced clinical services and acting as an active member of their patients’ care team, pharmacists are spread thin. In order to spend more time providing quality interactions with patients, pharmacies are increasingly looking to technology as a way to ease their workload to provide better patient-facing care.
 
Drug Store News spoke with ScriptPro president and CEO Mike Coughlin to discusss how his company works to help pharmacists tackle the various time-consuming elements of the job in order to facilitate quality patient interactions. 
 
Drug Store News: With consumers taking greater control of their own health, how is your company helping community pharmacists use technology to better engage patients, improve the patient experience in pharmacy and/or improve communication with patients?
Mike Coughlin: Pharmacists should view every opportunity to interact with a patient as an opportunity to build and strengthen the relationship. Quality interaction requires time and the ability to focus on the patient without distractions. ScriptPro's robotics-enabled workflow system frees up time and eliminates the distractions of worrying about making errors or getting the work done on time. ScriptPro systems also allow pharmacists and staff to document information about the patient and trigger follow-up notes so patients know you have a personal interest in meeting their needs.
 
DSN: As pharmacists work to achieve provider status and continue to play a greater role in healthcare delivery, how is your company enabling community pharmacists to practice at the top of their license?
MC: Provider status requires a high level of clinical documentation and case management. ScriptPro extends its workflow systems through its Advanced Pharmacy Clinical Services application. APCS is built on the pharmacy operating platform so medications requiring special attention — such as a first-fill analysis for specialty medications — will automatically invoke the necessary considerations and procedures before dispensing.
 
DSN: Medication adherence remains one of the most cost-effective ways to lower total healthcare costs and deliver improved outcomes. How is your company helping community pharmacy solve for this big opportunity to improve health care?
MC: ScriptPro's Meds-to-Beds applications have helped health systems obtain measurable, dramatic reductions in readmission rates. This is the first step in guiding patients towards medication adherence. ScriptPro's APCS application is used to systematically assess patients with chronic diseases and update their medication therapies. Patient refill and pickup reminder functions are built into the ScriptPro pharmacy management system.  
 
DSN: How is your company helping community pharmacies drive greater efficiency in their business whether in terms of inventory management, optimizing workflow, or keeping ahead of reimbursement challenges, etc.?
MC: ScriptPro provides overall financial assessment and strategic planning services that address enterprise ambulatory pharmacy planning, workflow optimization, inventory management and margin analysis. ScriptPro's Third Party Management System (TPMS) shines a bright light on payer and contract performance issues and provides detailed exception reports to document variations from contract and make demands for payment. Special TPMS features address the current DIR Fee crisis that is undermining pharmacies today.
 
DSN: As pharmacy continues to focus more broadly on outcomes and implementing more clinical services, how is your company helping pharmacy retailers better manage the vast amounts of data they need to deal with on a daily basis that comes as a part of that?
MC: ScriptPro can provide data warehouse services or feed your existing data warehouse. State-of-the-art reporting and analysis tools are available to utilize the data for strategic services.
 
DSN: As healthcare providers look to form unique partnerships to better manage patient populations, deliver improved outcomes and better manage financial risk, how is your company helping to connect the expanded patient care team?
MC: ScriptPro provides an end-to-end solution spanning payer contract management through dispensing, patient case management and revenue cycle management. ScriptPro is truly a "one stop shop" for standing up and operating a single retail pharmacy or a large, specialty pharmacy-focused enterprise.
 
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AAM-commissioned report: Biosimilars can save CMS $11.4B by 2027

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — A new report from the Moran Co. for the Association for Accessible Medicines and its Biosimilars Council is projecting big savings to the federal government from biosimilars in the next 10 years. But the estimated $11.4 billion in savings would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise the way it currently reimburses for biosimilar drugs.

Currently, CMS groups all biosimilars of a reference product under one billing code and payment rate. Such organizations as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, CVS Health, Express Scripts and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, among others, recently wrote to CMS administrator Seema Verma calling on a change to the policy earlier this month.

The introduction of biosimilars in the EU market has led to a substantial and immediate reduction in the average price for the biosimilar and originator products,” the letter said. “A sustainable and robust biosimilars market, such as the EU market, is built upon creating incentives for manufacturers to continue to develop lower cost alternatives to costly originator biologics, like expanded patient volume and access. Separate codes for non-interchangeable biosimilars help stimulate future competitors to the market.”

The Moran Co. report highlights that while the current policy would create short-term savings, they come at the expense of more savings in the long-term, potentially leading biosimilars manufacturers to exit the market over time or not enter it at all.

“Shifting biosimilar reimbursement to unique codes increases patient access to more affordable, life-saving medicine and lowers prescription drug spending,” Biosimilars Council executive director and AAM SVP policy and strategic alliances Christine Simmon said.  “This policy is critical to the development of a thriving biosimilars medicine market. This new report highlights the significant cost savings possible for both patients and payers if CMS implements this recommendation.”

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Walgreens pairs with actor Brandon Larracuente on ‘#ItEndsWithUs’ campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Walgreens on Wednesday launched its new campaign “#ItEndsWithUs” to educate teens nationwide on the opioid epidemic. The campaign will be unveiled by actor Brandon Larracuente from Netflix’s popular series “13 Reasons Why” and “Bloodline.”

“I have personally been affected by the opioid epidemic. My friend was only 19 when she died and it only took one wrong, risk-taking decision to cost her, her life,” Larracuente shared with more than 6,000 youth at the WE Day UN in New York. “I’m honored to work with Walgreens to raise awareness of the issue with my generation and let them know of the resources the company has made available to customers nationwide. This epidemic ends with our generation.”

The #ItEndsWithUs campaign provides teens with resources and positive steps they can take in their community, which are all available at the #ItEndsWithUs hub at www.walgreens.com/itendswithus. 

Once there, visitors are greeted with a message from Larracuente and a personal testimonial from Francesca Paparone, a young woman who overcame her addiction and is now working with Walgreens to raise awareness. Together, both Paparone and Larracuente will speak to Walgreens safe medication disposal program that began in 2016 in their messages.

The safe medication disposal kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications, year-round at no cost. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies are available during regular pharmacy hours and offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else. Most people who misuse prescription drugs first obtain them from a family member or friend, often from a home medicine cabinet.

Kiosks are available in more than 600 pharmacies across 45 states and the District of Columbia. In its first year, the program has resulted in the collection and disposal of 72 tons of unwanted medication, or the equivalent weight of about 40 midsize cars.

The #ItEndsWithUs campaign launches at a time when the national opioid crisis has escalated into an epidemic of addiction and overdose. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths among 15-to-19-year-olds spiked more than 19% between 2014 and 2015. The CDC also found that nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

 

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