The Forgotten Stakeholder: Driving Ownership at the Patient Level

Appointment For Mother And Daughter With Nurse

Have you ever heard the statement that the most powerful accelerant of a child’s education is the home environment? Endless studies show that while school is important, driving education at the nuclear level greatly accelerates the development and growth of a child. With that being said, could you imagine a world where a parent/guardian does not want to educate a child because they might ask a good question that they don’t immediately know the answer to, and they are already busy enough, so it’d be better to not teach them at all?


While I am sure you answered the question above with a resounding “no,” the reality is that the dynamic described above is almost identical to our current healthcare system. When substituting “patient” for “child” in the question above, we are faced with a day-to-day reality. To be fair, our healthcare system is bursting at the seams. Healthcare providers and pharmacists are over-worked, understaffed, and just plain tired after a historic pandemic. These stakeholders do a fantastic job in creating a relationship with the patient, understanding their situation, and providing the appropriate care. These providers are the equivalent to our school system in the scenario above and relying only on providers to ensure the best outcomes of a patient is not only onerous it, quite frankly, won’t work long-term. Until we educate at the patient level and allow patients to begin to have ownership in their care, we can’t expect meaningful improvements in our care system.


So, what do we do? Over the past decade, there are many companies that have been focusing on improving the efficiency of our providers and pharmacy teams to access more holistic information for their patients. These companies have done a fantastic job in these initiatives that have allowed physicians to access real-time benefit information, pharmacists to see any drug interactions quickly, and care teams to solve coverage gaps through incredible HUB services. The “school system” is great, but it is no substitute for education at the nuclear level, we need both.


Studies show that 69% of physicians are not discussing costs with patients at the point-of-care due to cost uncertainties and lack of time despite the tools available today. Once that interaction passes, the only stop-gap is at the pharmacy counter which is also already overburdened and likely trying to solve supply-chain problems. This means that pharmacists also have limited time to perform a cost-benefit analysis of available savings opportunities and alternatives. In one personal anecdote from one of our system partner pharmacists, when he recently filled what he knew to be an $8 Rx at a large pharmacy chain, he was told to pay $20 and that they didn’t have time to re-run it so he needed to take it or leave it. For anyone reading this, that $12 likely doesn’t matter, but for someone on a fixed-income, $12 could be 1-3% of the monthly take home income.


At RxLink, we are focused entirely on the patient. It is our belief that creating an empowered patient doesn’t start and end with a marketing announcement; it requires educating the patient and being ready to fully support that patient despite them potentially having a few extra questions. We can’t continue to ignore the fact that pharmaceutical pricing information is available for patients, yet it continues to be contractually hidden from them by large, centralized companies in the pharmaceutical and insurance supply chain. RxLink exists to educate the patient about the landscape surrounding their healthcare, what they were prescribed, what it will cost, ways to save, and what alternatives they may have available to them. RxLink exists to create a better educated patient and a better educated patient is a happier and healthier patient. The current system of negotiated prices and numerous alternatives is complex, but RxLink is translating the complexity into simple, straight-forward steps which make navigating the financial hurdles as simple as getting directions to your child’s school.