Allina adds tool to help doctors save patients money on prescriptions

Dr. David Ingham, a family doctor with Allina Health in Edina, Minn., is one of 600 primary care doctors at Allina using the drug pricing tool.

[Kaiser Health News, July 10, 2019] When Mary Kay Gilbert saw her doctor in May for a skin infection on her leg, she wasn’t surprised to receive a prescription for an antibiotic cream. But Gilbert, 54, a nurse and health consultant, was shocked when her physician clicked on the desktop computer and told Gilbert the medicine would cost $30 on her Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan.

“I was like, ‘Wow — that’s pretty cool that you know that information,’ ” she recalled telling the doctor in Edina, Minn.

Allina Health, the large Minnesota-based hospital network Gilbert’s doctor belongs to, is one of a growing number of health systems and insurers providing real-time drug pricing information to physicians so they can help patients avoid “sticker shock” at the pharmacy.

The pricing tool, which is embedded in each participating physician’s electronic health records and prescribing system, shows how much patients can expect to pay out of pocket, based on their insurance and the pharmacy they choose. It also allows the doctor to find a cheaper alternative, when possible, and start the process of getting authorization for a drug, if the insurer requires that. Read the full story here.

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