Two Pulmonary Hypertension Groups Sign Up for ZappRx’s Streamlined Prescription-ordering Service

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Two pulmonary hypertension treatment groups are now working with a company that helps doctors to streamline the complex process of obtaining insurance company sign-offs on speciality prescriptions, which can take weeks.

Arizona Pulmonary Specialists in Phoenix and the pulmonary hypertension unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, have become clients of  ZappRx.

The process of obtaining insurer sign-offs and then filling specialty-medication prescriptions can be daunting and time-consuming. ZappRx’s computerized approach simplifies the process, making it easier for doctors to collect and save all of the information that insurers require to order a prescription.

ZappRx’s platform lets healthcare providers, pharmacists and insurers interact with each another digitally to fill a prescription.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and cystic fibrosis (CF) are the first diseases that ZappRx’s service covers. Later it plans to add cancer, in addition to neurological, rheumatologic and gastroenterological diseases.

“The first prescription we wrote was approved within 48 hours, improving immediately on what had been a completely paper-based process for us, taking sometimes more than three weeks,” Dr. Ronald Qudiz, director of the Liu Center for Pulmonary Hypertension at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said in a press release.

“Our team spends its time differently now that we use ZappRx,” said Dr. Jeremy Feldman, director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Arizona Pulmonary Specialists. “The nurses worry less about the prescriptions and prior authorizations for our patients, and are able to spend more time with patients, and less time on the phone with insurance companies. The nurses also connect with the doctors more on patient care, and are generally less stressed about their jobs.”

Specialty drugs are those prescribed for a chronic disease or a difficult-to-treat condition, such as PH or PAH. They typically require special handling, administration or monitoring.

It’s also harder for doctors to obtain the required insurer sign-offs before ordering them. Sometimes they need to be ordered through a specialty pharmacy, making the process even more difficult for patients.

Specialty drugs for PH include Adcirca (tadalafil), Letairis (ambrisentan), Opsumit (macitentan) and Tracleer (bosentan), according to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

These drugs fall under a prior authorization insurance category, meaning that insurers want to review why a doctor has prescribed a drug before agreeing to pay for it. Without such authorization, the medication may cost more or may not be covered at all.

“Dr. Feldman raised his hand to be first to use our combined prescription and prior authorization feature set,” said Karen Tirozzi, vice president of solutions at ZappRx. “We love that innovators on the clinical front like Drs. Feldman and Oudiz are showing leadership in technology innovation, too, and that ZappRx is the vehicle for it.”