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.
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.