Most Patients Uncertain About Switching to New Medication

More than half of patients who receive new medications do not feel confident taking them, a recent survey found. Two-thirds of those patients said their uncertainty stems from not spending enough time with their physicians at the point of care, according to the report from DrFirst.

The survey also found that patients would prefer their physician provide them with a link to watch a video online about their medication, as opposed to physically receiving the information.

“At a time when most physicians are working at full capacity and have less time for face-to-face patient encounters, it’s critical that we seek alternative methods for educating patients about how to safely take new medications and about each drug’s potential side effects,” G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst, said of the findings. These evolving patient preferences are driving the need for health professionals to “take advantage of technologies,” Deemer added.

In addition to virtual information, patients are also interested in driving down costs: over 75% of patients attempted to reduce the price of their new prescription either by searching for coupons online or asking their doctor or pharmacist, and 64% said they would pre-pay any out-of-pocket costs in exchange for a lower price.

A previous DrFirst survey, from October 2018, found that 73% of respondents would switch pharmacies if it meant saving money on prescriptions—and it doesn’t have to be a seemingly large amount; just a $10 difference would persuade 38% of respondents to switch, while close to 70% would find a new pharmacy for a savings between $11 and $25. Almost half of respondents said they have left a prescription at the pharmacy because it was too expensive. And while the present survey found that patients are actively looking for ways to cut costs, only 44% of respondents for the older survey said their physician discussed costs and/or ways to reduce prices with them, and just 41% said their physician gave them information about coupons or a cheaper pharmacy.

“Physicians must be sensitive to the fact that even a $10 price difference influences patient behavior when it comes to filling prescriptions,” Deemer said regarding the first survey, adding, “To reduce prescription abandonment and improve health outcomes, physicians must actively participate in this conversation at the point of prescribing so that the physician and patient can jointly decide on the best medication option.”

The present survey was completed online by 200 consumers (60% female), of whom 83% had health insurance; 35% were 25–34 years old, 22% were 18–24 years old, and 18% were 35–44 years old. All participants had at least one prescription filled within the last six months.

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Source: DrFirst