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Analysis

Majority of Consumers Lack Confidence to Take New Meds

By Jack O'Brien  
   January 23, 2019

Anxiety and a lack of time at the point of care are causing consumers to feel unconfident when taking new medication, according to a new survey.

Most consumers feel unsure about taking new medication despite receiving directions from a physician, according to a new survey from DrFirst released Wednesday morning.

The findings indicate that 66% of consumers with issues regarding their new prescriptions cite anxiety about a lack of time with their physician at the point of care. Respondents also stated that they preferred to receive instructions on usage and potential side effects via a short online video from their physician rather than through written materials. 

Beyond the clinical concerns regarding prescription drugs, 64% of respondents said they would pre-pay out-of-pocket for a discounted rate and more than 75% stated that they have tried to receive discounts or coupons for new prescriptions.

The survey's findings were in line with a DrFirst survey from October that analyzed prescription drug price pressures on consumer decisions and determined that consumers would benefit both clinically and financially from low-price or discounted options at the pharmacy.

Related: Nearly 75% of Consumers Would Change Pharmacies For Savings

G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst, told HealthLeaders that health system executives should emphasize providing patients with additional information after they leave the hospital, when most questions about care arise. 

Another main aspect of the survey focused on consumers opting to pay less out-of-pocket for prescription drugs and what health leaders can learn from that spending behavior. 

"[The healthcare industry] has now reached the point of attempting to reduce overall healthcare costs by placing the burden for selection and payment on patients," Deemer said. "High deductible plans, high copays, anything that puts some skin in the game for the patients, that's the current direction of health benefits."

"We, [at DrFirst], see many players gearing up to work more effectively with patients in this new out-of-pocket economy."

There is growing interest in making pricing information available at the pharmacy as well, according to Deemer, who said it remains an "area of mystery" for consumers. He added that this would likely be similar to the price transparency measures that hospitals have been subject to since Jan. 1.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Sixty-six percent of patients cited their lack of time with a physician at the point of care as driving their anxiety.

Patients indicated a preference for instructions about new medication through online videos rather than written materials.

More than 75% of respondents have tried to receive discounts or coupons for new prescriptions.


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