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No More Surprises at the Pharmacy

Steve Nelson, UnitedHealthcare
Chief Executive Officer

Steve Nelson is chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare, a division of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). UnitedHealthcare serves one in eight Americans, making it the single largest business dedicated to health and well-being in the United States.

Health care must continue to create greater value for consumers. That means finding new ways to help improve people’s health while bringing down costs and creating a more satisfying experience. One of the areas overdue for this change is the pharmacy experience.

Nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and more than a third of people over age 45 take three or more prescription drugs. And the costs can be substantial. The U.S. spends more than $300 billion on these drugs annually – about $1,000 per person.

That is why UnitedHealthcare spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to help remove what is often a leading cause of dissatisfaction for both consumers and physicians in the health care experience – surprises at the pharmacy counter.

I bet most of you can recall a time when your doctor prescribed a medication and either the drug cost more than you were expecting or it wasn’t ready to pick up when you arrived at the pharmacy because your doctor didn’t realize a pre-authorization with your insurer was necessary.

You’re not alone. 

But, by using feedback from physicians and other care providers and working in collaboration with OptumRx, we created PreCheck MyScript.

Physicians can use this innovative tool when prescribing medications for their UnitedHealthcare patients. It offers them real-time information about available drug options, compares the exact out-of-pocket cost of each drug based specifically on the UnitedHealthcare patient’s pharmacy benefit plan and flags whether a pre-authorization is needed. The best part? This all happens while the patient is still in the exam room with the doctor.

This gives physicians a chance to discuss all prescription medication alternatives with the patient face-to-face and file the pre-authorization online before the patient leaves the doctor’s office and heads to the pharmacy. 

This is how it works…

View Transcript

And because PreCheck MyScript is embedded directly into a physician’s existing workflow, there is no need to adopt new technology. That is the key. Physicians do not have time to log in and out of different systems when they’re with a patient. But when you make an existing process easier, faster and more personalized without piling on new steps, you add value to their daily routine. 

Initial results show using PreCheck MyScript has led physicians to choose a different, oftentimes lower-cost, drug about 20 percent of the time when an alternative was offered. This means fewer surprises for consumers at the pharmacy counter and lower overall health care costs. 

In fact, it’s helping save about $80 per patient on each prescription filled when an alternative is selected, according to UnitedHealthcare data. 

This is just the beginning. The technology behind PreCheck MyScript is a game changer and can help create a better, simpler, more personalized experience in so many other aspects of health care.