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Re-Envisioning the Future of Specialty Pharmacy using New Technology

Two major trends have been driving the rapid expansion of specialty pharmacies:

An Increase in Specialty and Limited-Distribution Drugs

This increase has precipitated growth in specialty pharmacies that serve specific healthcare systems to provide improved continuous care that links the physician, patient, and pharmacist.

Specialty medicines account for around 75% of the approximately 7,000 new drugs under development. In 2022, the FDA will approve about 600 drugs, and up to 60% of them will be specialty medicines.

A Major Shift Towards Specialized Therapies and Improved Patient Care

Specialty pharmacies that embrace advanced technology are emerging as a critical link in the continuum of patient care. They are responsible for patient engagement, patient adherence to treatment protocols, authorization management, and demonstrating the improved quality of care associated with health solutions that are data-driven and demonstrate positive outcomes. Patient outcomes are improved when treatments are tailored to the patient. 

The antiquated systems employed by a traditional specialty pharmacy are no longer adequate. Specialty pharmacies now rely on cloud-based hub services to assist manufacturers in bringing new specialty drugs to market, to educate patients, ensure adherence, and assist with reimbursement.

The digitization and real-time management of all data flow within a secure HIPAA-compliant system enable health care providers and payers to obtain critical tracking information and outcome reporting. This system collects data that is used to develop evidence-based health solutions that identify the most appropriate specialty medications.

Tech-Enabled Medication and Treatment Management

Digital solutions engage patients by providing a portal through which they can access educational materials and by utilizing omnichannel tools to send notifications such as dosing reminders and upcoming procedure appointments. 

Patients, pharmacists, and health care providers are rapidly embracing technology with real-time reporting of a patient's condition as a valuable tool in patient care programs.

The following are the megatrends that will influence the future of specialty pharmacies:

Specialty Pharmacy Digital Solutions Must Boost Efficiency

The growth of specialty pharmacies is a result of technological advancements that automate numerous processes. The objective is to shorten patients' time to therapy while lowering operational costs.

Electronic Prior Authorization

Electronic Prior Authorization (ePA) improves processing efficiency and reduces errors that can result in delays in getting critically ill patients their needed therapies.

Prior authorization and reauthorization procedures will be more stringent for all commercial payers. Specialty medications will be designated based on clinical evidence of their efficacy. Payers will increase the number of specialty drugs excluded from the reimbursement if they do not demonstrate evidence-based pathways, emphasizing the importance of data collection.

Split-Fills Increase

Split-fills, which provide a patient with only half a month's worth of medication, will expand in order to reduce costs through waste reduction. To avoid human error and missed refills, these record-keeping tasks must be automated.

Distribution Network Consolidation

Pharmaceutical manufacturers may choose to work with a limited distribution network of specialty pharmacies that have demonstrated a high level of patient engagement and positive outcomes. Specialty pharmacies that embrace technology will have an easier time overcoming obstacles and establishing expertise...

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