Pharmacy software has made it easier than ever for patients to shop for medications.
The software has become the gold standard for making sure that medication is the right price for the doctor, according to Dr. Jeffrey St. John, a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia.
“If you’re going to be purchasing medication, it has to be in the pharmacy, so you can see what the cost is and you can make a decision on it,” he said.
St. Johns and his colleagues have developed software that lets people shop for prescription drugs, which include generics, vitamins and medications that are not currently available on the drug market.
“I think it’s an absolute lifesaver,” St. Johnston said.
“In the past, it was not uncommon for people to go out and ask for drugs, but not necessarily get what they wanted.”
“We’ve actually seen a lot of people using the software to shop their medications,” said St. Joseph.
“The software really makes it a lot easier for people who want to do the same thing, and it makes it easy to keep track of all the medications that they have, so they don’t have to go back to the doctor and go find them.”
St. Thomas said it was easy to use for the software.
“It’s the easiest way for people that are in the same financial situation, and they’re in the hospital, and just need to make sure they’re not getting a huge premium for the medications,” he told ABC News.
“That’s really important.”
The software is used by more than half of the nation’s hospitals, and the FDA is currently testing it for potential use in patients with a chronic condition such as heart failure, cancer or asthma.
“This is a very simple way to do this, because we have a lot more data to draw from,” St Thomas said.
He added that while he did not use the software in a clinical setting, he was confident it could help patients who might not otherwise have access to it.
“We know it’s a very effective tool,” he added.
The drug software helps patients shop for medication, but the software can also help doctors shop for other drugs, and make it easier for patients who are in debt to pay their medical bills, according the FDA.
“Patients can have a more accurate and expeditious experience shopping for their medication, and doctors can do their job more efficiently and affordably, if they can find a good price on the generic,” St John said.
Some patients who shop on the software say they have been able to save up to $100 on their prescriptions and receive a full refund.
“They’re saving $100 in a month, and I’ve actually been able pay my bills and do my things more efficiently,” one patient, who was not identified, told ABC affiliate WCBS in Philadelphia, Philadelphia.
St John says the software has been very useful for patients, but it has also helped his colleagues.
“A lot of times, we get a lot in terms of patient complaints that we’re not seeing a lot on the system,” he explained.
“There’s a lot going on and we’re trying to be able to do everything the right way.”
St Johns said he plans to continue developing the software for patients and physicians, and said he would like to see it be used more broadly.
“People can have their own way of shopping and doing things and getting their medication at a good value, and if it’s going to become more widely used, that would be great,” he stated.
“As an adjunct to the drug shopping process, I would like for that to be part of the pharmacy process as well.”
Follow Becky on Twitter: Follow Becky On Twitter