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Clinician Response to Out-of-Pocket Medication Price Alerts in EHRs

Clinicians responded more often to alerts about patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs than looking at prices on their own, a study shows. In a large health system using the Epic electronic health record (EHR), clinicians changed 1 in 8 medication orders after reviewing real-time benefit tool (RTBT) price estimates and 1 in 6 orders when potential savings were $20 or more.

Over a 3-year period between 2019 and 2022, researchers looked at how often RTBT price estimates were displayed for 1.9 million medication orders from primary care clinics. “Only 0.9% of price estimates displayed at clinician request, while 99.1% displayed via an alert as clinicians signed their orders,” the authors write. “Overall, 12.3% of medication orders changed after the clinician viewed [181,887] RTBT price estimates; 14.0% of orders were changed when the potential cost savings were $5 or more. In adjusted analyses, clinicians changed medications more often when potential cost savings were $20 or more and for certain drug classes (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medications, antihyperglycemic agents, and cardiovascular medications), but not for psychotherapeutic medications. No patient sociodemographic characteristics were associated with changing medication orders.”

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine