Humana Turns To Epic For Real-Time Medication Comparison

US-based health insurer Humana has announced that they will be getting a healthcare-band together with EHR giant Epic to bring real-time medication comparison to providers and patients. With the soaring costs of medication, half of all patients are choosing to not fill their prescriptions and another 75 percent reported they did not expect to pay as much as they did at their pharmacy. Humana and Epic want to help healthcare find a better way.

Both companies are hoping to change the way providers and patients make med choices with the introduction of Humana’s IntelligentRx tool to Epic’s e-prescribing workflow. Clinical staff will have instantaneous access to a patient’s medical history and treatment options – including their insurance coverage and cost of medications. This offers an opportunity for medical professionals and their patients to explore options together that best fit both treatment goals and budgetary considerations.

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“This transformative relationship brings together the provider, the payer, and the patient in new ways so they’re all working from the same playbook,” said Epic vice president of population health Alan Hutchison. “The relationship is also about aligning information to reduce the administrative burden on providers and improve quality and transparency for patients.”

It’s an important step towards ensuring practitioners can provide the best care possible at prices that patients feel they can afford. The Epic-Humana collaboration represents two of the largest healthcare companies in the United States. Approximately 250 million patients have a current record with EPIC and more providers are running the EMR on their system than ever before.

“The nexus of these technologies will both improve the provider experience and patient access to care by empowering them to weigh evidence-based outcomes with patients’ individual medication cost and coverage,” said Alan Wheatley, president of Humana’s retail segment. “It’s estimated that roughly half of Humana Medicare Advantage members already see a doctor who uses Epic’s platform so we are excited about the significant number of patients that will benefit from this partnership.”

“When prescribers use IntelligentRx and they are presented with alternatives, we find that they select the more cost-effective treatment nearly 40 percent of the time,” Wheatley added.

The Humana-Epic partnership is coming together at an important time. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients passing on filling their prescriptions have serious implications for the US healthcare system – 10 percent of all hospital readmissions and an estimated $289 billion in costs a year being attributed to medication noncompliance.

With prices of specialty meds soaring from $8.7 billion in 2010 to $32.8 billion in 2015, the government is also getting on the real-time benefits bandwagon. CMS put forward a proposed regulation in November recommending that Medicare Part D plans implement a method for checking availability of a more affordable drug option is available.

While Humana and Epic are the newest partnership, they are not the first to see the wisdom on sharing patient data in this way. In 2017, Surescripts joined forces with six electronic health record companies – including Epic, CVS Health and ExpressScripts – to provide ready access to medical history to health practitioners.

IT vendor Meditech built in their “DrFirst’s myBenefitCheck” tool into their web-based EHR software in 2018 to provide price transparency. Cerner did something similar through their partnership with CoverMyMeds and baked it into their electronic prescribing tool, Cerner ePrescribe.