Empowering patients with the tools to better understand the prescription process

May 9, 2017
Empowering patients with the tools to better understand the prescription process

Established in 2006, the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA) is a national network of physicians dedicated to ensuring patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. To achieve its objectives, AfPA recruits, trains and mobilizes physicians to be effective patient access advocates.

One of the Alliance’s ongoing projects is Prescription Process – a website intended to empower patients to better understand prescribing, filling and picking up a prescription medicine. Recently, the Alliance updated the Prescription Process website in a renewed effort to promote its message.

“With all that’s going on in U.S. healthcare, patients are becoming overwhelmed with the obstacles they must navigate to access the medicines they need,” said Brian Kennedy, Executive Director for AfPA.

“Prescription Process is AfPA’s tool for patients who are unsure of what to do in such a complex environment.”

The site explains common obstacles to patient access, including step therapy, formulary restrictions, nonmedical switching, prior authorization, special tiers and therapeutic substitution. It provides a simple description of each issue alongside an accompanying quick-draw video.

Prescription Process

Legislation details are also included, allowing patients to learn about how their lawmakers are addressing access barriers. Links allow patients to directly contact their elected officials.

“The site is designed to get patients more involved in the legislation that affects their access to medicines,” explained Kennedy. “The ability to write to elected officials is a huge part of that. By using this platform to voice their opinions to key decision makers, patients can influence the laws that directly affect them.”

Alongside these features is a ‘Take Action’ section, outlining what to ask a doctor, pharmacist and health insurer about the prescription process. A ‘Patient Stories’ section allows patients to share their personal experiences with obtaining the medicines they need.

“The Patients Stories section is a significant part of the website,” said Kennedy. “Here, patients can find out about the prescription process and access issues from real-life examples. After all, who better to learn from than someone else in the same position as you?”

Keeping with the social learning theme, Prescription Process also has an active Twitter account, which conveys the latest updates on policy issues and encourages dialogue. The account helps drive new and interested individuals to the site to educate themselves and share their stories.

Outside of social media, the Alliance is also working with several organizations to provide the Prescription Process site as a resource for their members.

“As an alliance, our key goal is to improve patient access to potentially life-saving medicines,” explained Kennedy. “Making available tools like PrescriptionProcess.com, which empowers patients to better understand the barriers to their health care and how these limits can be addressed at a policy level, is crucial to solving access challenges.”

Click here to view the new and improved Prescription Process site.

Empowering patients with the tools to better understand the prescription process


Since its founding in 2006, Brian Kennedy has served as Executive Director of the Alliance for Patient Access, a national network of physicians with the shared mission of promoting health policy that ensures patient access to appropriate clinical care and approved therapies. AfPA accomplishes this mission through educating physicians on health policy issues and mobilizing them to be effective patient advocates.  Along with its physician leadership, Mr. Kennedy has led AfPA to be the nation’s largest multi-specialty physician organization solely focused on health policy issues impacting patient access. On behalf of AfPA and the related Institute for Patient Access, and the Global Alliance for Patient Access, Mr. Kennedy has overseen the development of dozens of policy and advocacy initiatives including those relating to biologic therapies, prescription drug abuse and balance pain management, infant health, clinical trials awareness, cancer treatments and respiratory care.   Prior to founding AfPA, Mr. Kennedy’s professional career spanned the practice of law, campaign politics, government relations and corporate public affairs consulting. Over the course of his career, Mr. Kennedy has served as the organizer, manager and/or a strategic consultant to over a dozen coalitions and associations including the Alliance for Patient Access. Mr. Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Iowa State University and his J.D. from Drake University Law School.  He is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association.



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