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  • David Steinberg, PharmD JD

Shared Decision Making in Healthcare

Before buying a product online, most people immediately jump to the review section. While scrolling, it’s typical to come across a section showing similar products which might prompt you to check them out and compare them all to see which is the right fit for the right price. When it comes to healthcare, doctor visits, and drugs it's completely the opposite.

Over the past decade, experts have been trying to bring the same level of consumerism and engagement to healthcare in the form of “shared decision making.” Shared decision making is the discussion between patients/caregivers and healthcare providers regarding various treatment options, guided by evidence-based strategies and materials called patient decision aids.

FAIR Health, an independent, national nonprofit organization that helps consumers understand healthcare costs and health coverage, in collaboration with recognized shared decision-making expert Dr. Glyn Elwyn from the Dartmouth Institute, undertook an 18-month initiative geared for adult patients and their caregivers who face palliative care decisions. The study, which was published in September 2020, found that “providers and consumers alike deemed the shared decision-making tools — and, particularly, the associated cost information — useful and valuable to shared decision-making conversations.”

Patient decision aids and shared decision making tools come in all shapes and forms. Prior to the advent of the smartphone, most patient aids were pamphlets and leaflets available at the doctor’s office.

Dr. Paul Bradley, a board certified practicing internist in Savannah, and Co-Founder of Scripta Insights, realized that despite having a conversation about how the medication works, his patients were leaving his office without any idea how much their prescription would cost when they arrived at the pharmacy counter. When Dr. Bradley asked the patients about their medications at a follow-up visit, he often found they would avoid the question or tell him they never bought it because it was simply too expensive. This is no surprise as Scripta’s recent survey found that 66% of people think they pay too much for prescriptions, despite the fact that they have health insurance.

To support shared decision making, Scripta Insights has created a patient decision aid that is unlike anything else available. Scripta is a cloud-based healthcare IT solution that helps self-insured employers contain their pharmacy benefit spend, while helping members get The Right Meds at the Best Price™.

When patients go in to see their doctor armed with their Scripta Savings Report, a shared decision making process takes place and an honest discussion about medication, pricing and clinical outcomes is made possible. When given the right tools like this, patients are very willing to make changes if savings are involved. Our survey also found that 58% of people have been recommended a less expensive drug and the number one reaction is that they’re INTERESTED!

The Scripta process has changed the way our members look at their appointments and visits to the pharmacy. They are no longer surprised when their pharmacist hands them their bag of medication. Scripta is excited to be leading the way with a truly innovative approach to shared decision making in healthcare.



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