Pharmacy Utilization is Driving Spending Increases

Thanks to rising pharmacy spending, our 2024 healthcare bills are outpacing national GDP growth. The latest Health Sector Economic Indicator Brief from Altarum revealed an interesting tidbit about what is driving the increase and it’s not what you think. Prescription drug prices only went up by 0.3% in February, but the amount of medication people are taking grew by a whopping 7.7%.

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Thanks to rising pharmacy spending, our 2024 healthcare bills are outpacing national GDP growth. The latest Health Sector Economic Indicator Brief from Altarum revealed an interesting tidbit about what is driving the increase and it’s not what you think. Prescription drug prices only went up by 0.3% in February, but the amount of medication people are taking grew by a whopping 7.7%.

Prescription drug utilization rates are increasing for a variety of reasons, including new advancements in drug research that have created treatments for conditions that were not previously available. Pharmacy spending going up by 7.7% necessitates a strategy for medication cost management. Health plans and employers needing to control healthcare budgets are looking for creative, innovative ways to save while maintaining a high quality of healthcare.

HealthTech is well-positioned to address the substantial inefficiencies and excessive costs associated with pharmacy spending. Analyzing prescription patterns and identifying cost-effective alternatives that do not compromise quality of care may be achieved in multiple ways:

  • Enhanced cost efficiency

AI’s capabilities include automatically reviewing millions of health claims to find treatment-equivalent alternatives that lower costs. As pharmacy spending continues to rise, solutions that provide immediate relief are needed.

  • Decreased out-of-pocket costs

Lowering the price at the register has direct and immediate benefits to members and employees. Making medication affordable helps patients adhere to their treatment plans, thereby improving health outcomes.

  • Addressing overprescribing

Overprescribing is the use of more medicine than is clinically necessary, which can put patients at risk of side effects and polypharmacy with limited potential to benefit. With prescription drug utilization on the rise, broaching the topic of polypharmacy with physicians is increasingly important.

  • Supporting physicians

A recent study by Athenahealth found that more than 90% of physicians reported feeling burned out on a “regular basis” and are struggling to contend with an overwhelming administrative workload. Platforms can support physicians by streamlining the process of prescribing the most affordable medication to their patients.

  • Data-driven insights lead to improved solutions

AI gives HealthTech the ability to analyze vast amounts of data across a large membership base to discover actionable insights from individual prescriptions to larger-scale intelligence. This capability is critical for addressing broader healthcare spending and utilization trends.

Altarum’s March report highlights the complexities of healthcare costs and pinpoints that pharmacy spending is a twofold problem: 1. individual drug prices are increasing, and 2. people are taking more medication. In this context, RazorMetrics offers a proactive approach to curbing rising pharmacy expenditures.

As a leading HealthTech company in the drug savings space, RazorMetrics leverages AI to enhance cost efficiency for health plans and employers, their members and employees. The platform automatically analyzes data and communicates with physicians during their normal workflows to improve the physicians’ experience as well as the patients. RazorMetrics delivers a positive ROI in four months by seamlessly integrating a powerful solution with existing systems that ensure savings are achieved at the very next refill.

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