Nearly everybody knows someone who has been impacted by delays or difficulties encountered when accessing specialty medications. In these critical and often life-altering moments, every day – sometimes even every minute – matters.

It is crucial that we, as an industry, recognize the obstacles that impede the medication onboarding process. Further, we must acknowledge the significance of each day in a patient’s journey and explore how new technologies are revolutionizing the landscape, providing hope for faster, more efficient care.

The Time-Critical Nature of Specialty Medication Access

When it comes to specialty medications, time is of the essence. Patients facing complex health conditions cannot afford to wait days, weeks, or months for the enrollment process to be completed. Unfortunately, the existing onboarding experience directly contributes to delays in care, potentially driving worse health outcomes for patients.

In many cases, a day may mean that a disease has progressed, a rash has spread, or pain has worsened. In some circumstances, one day may mean the difference between life and death. Pancreatic cancer, for example, has unfortunately remained the least survivable and quickest killing cancer. Upwards of 25% of people with pancreatic cancer do not survive more than one month from diagnosis.

And for those with chronic conditions, delays in medication access can mean a loss of control over their disease, including worsening symptoms or hospitalization. Regardless of the diagnosis, patients, providers, and care teams must act quickly to begin treatment and avoid harmful outcomes.

The Need for Improvement

The challenges in specialty medication access are complex. Delays are often due to a combination of factors, including the absence of standardized paperwork or processes to start therapy, the complex approval or prior authorization process, and the high cost of medications and lack of transparency into affordability options.

While a patient may be facing deteriorating health, various stakeholders must work through the laborious process of medication onboarding. Over the course of a few days, a care team may be working to:

  • Manually find, print, and fax the manufacturer’s paper enrollment form.
  • Collect patient and provider signatures (sometimes via snail-mail) in order to share health data and effectively communicate with stakeholders.
  • Call the insurance company to confirm patient coverage, cost, and/or preferred alternatives.
  • Find financial assistance options, and submit forms to ensure the patient can afford their care.
  • Find the most cost-effective and convenient pharmacy location for the patient.

If each of these steps takes just a single day to complete, we’ve already wasted an entire week without treatment! We must do better.  It is crucial that we transform this process to reprioritize efficient and streamlined onboarding, and ensure patients receive specialty medications faster than ever before.

The Role of Technology in Accelerating Access

Thankfully, new technologies are emerging that transform specialty medication access. By leveraging innovative solutions that digitize and organize enrollment forms, surface active financial and manufacturer assistance programs, and automate the benefit verification and prior authorization processes, we can significantly reduce the time it takes to get patients on the specialty medications they need. Additionally, digital consent collection and communication among stakeholders can alleviate burden on patients and providers when time is of the essence.

RxLightning’s MedAccess Ecosystem is leading the charge in revolutionizing the medication onboarding experience by bringing historically-disparate tools and functionalities into one location. Our integrated portal is used by thousands of providers every day to start patients on life-changing therapies. With over 1,200 medications embedded within the tool, RxLightning’s solution is a one-stop-shop for medication onboarding, delivering a digital, repeatable, transparent experience for all. Providers, care teams, pharmacies, hubs, patients, and caregivers can enroll, confirm coverage, find affordability options, and track onboarding progress – in a secure, digital platform.

As one provider user recently commented, “The RxLightning solution supports speed-to-therapy and affordability. It eliminates the need to download paper forms, and is so much easier than what we were doing before. Instead of two weeks, I can patients on the right medication in just a few days!”

The Difference a Day Makes

The future of specialty medication access is bright. With the creation of new technologies and the continued efforts of providers, policymakers, and innovators, we can expect to see significant reductions in the delays that patients currently experience.

And as new therapies are developed to treat or cure complex diseases, new technologies are being launched that support the successful delivery of these medications. For example, radiopharmaceuticals require increased regulation, supply chain resources, and planning. Technology is of the utmost importance to manage the enrollment, shipment, and triaging of these highly-complex therapies, and RxLightning has developed world-class solutions to support manufacturers and providers through these types of sophisticated med access journeys.

For those needing specialty medications to treat their conditions, improving the onboarding process means fewer calls from the insurance company, less paperwork to complete, and an improved experience from diagnosis to fulfillment. Every single day matters when it comes to accessing specialty medications. By embracing new technologies, we can prioritize efficient processes and ensure that life-saving treatments are delivered promptly to those in need – accelerating the med access journey for all.