Are cost conversations still uncomfortable and awkward? Starting with a familiar topic is a practical way to make these conversations comfortable for physicians, staff and patients.
So, let’s start with medications! The review and reconciliation of medication lists is already a familiar and necessary routine during visits. Cost concerns can be uncovered by making a simple shift in the types of questions being asked.
We are only scratching the surface with medication costs considering the extent to which it affects adherence. One physician found that 65% of his patients did not fill their prescriptions due to cost (48%) or coverage (38%) reasons.1 Another study found that abandonment didn’t just occur with high out-of-pocket costs. Even medications less than $10 were left behind by 10% of patients.2 Cost conversations provide the opportunity to identify barriers and improve medication adherence.
NYACP has 4 simple ways for you to improve cost conversations regarding medications:
NYACP’s Cost of Care Conversation guide for Medications contains a list of resources, medication price transparency tools and a tip sheet for patients. It outlines what you can do, say, use and give for each of the steps listed above. Use it to improve medication adherence conversations and to ease into the topic of cost. Chances are, if your patient is concerned about medications costs, they have concerns about other costs too. Once you are comfortable, you can apply cost conversations to other topics without it being awkward!
1. Kronemyer, B. (2018, May 1). Cost is a barrier to medication adherence. Dermatology Times. Retrieved November 27, 2018, from http://www.dermatologytimes.com/current-and-emerging-treatments-acne/cost-barrier-medication-adherence
2. Jalpa A. Doshi, P. L. (2018). Association of Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs With Prescription Abandonment and Delay in Fills of Novel Oral Anticancer Agents. Research Brief, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Retrieved November 27, 2018, from https://ldi.upenn.edu/brief/association-patient-out-pocket-costs-prescription-abandonment-and-delay-fills-novel-oral
3. Kelley, T. (2018, June 3). When the Cost of Medications Keeps Patients from Taking Them. Managed Care. Retrieved November 2018, 2018, from https://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/2018/6/when-cost-medications-keeps-patients-taking-them