|INTERVIEWING TIP OF THE MONTH
# 91 September 2007
"The Value of Letting Patients Know the Cost of Medications that Cost Nothing"
TISA Description of the Problem: In our ongoing efforts to help patients maintain an interest in staying on medications in an effective fashion, a nurse from Oklahoma, Rosemarie Borjon, had a very sound insight. It has to deal with the fact that we humans "like a good deal" and it can be very appealing to patients to understand fully the value that they are receiving when pharmaceutical companies provide medications free of cost. Normally, I would just say something like, "Boy, it's great that we are going to be able to get these meds for free, they cost a fair amount." But Rosemarie shows how it is wise to be a bit more specific.
Tip: Informing the patient of the actual dollar cost of a medication provided free from a pharmaceutical or at a lowered cost from a governmental agency can help enhance interest in staying on a medication and taking it as prescribed in several ways:
1) The patient may attach a higher degree of efficacy to the medication as in, "a medication that costs $380/month must be better than one that only costs $12/month."
2) Patients may be more hesitant to miss doses because they are thinking about how much money they wasted when they just tossed $15 (3 pills) down the toilet or have 3 pills just sitting in the bottle at the back of the shelf.
3) They don't feel so bad about paying a $20 to $45 co-pay. For instance, I would share with a Medicaid/Medicare patient that two of my prescriptions cost $75 per co-payment, but would normally cost $400/month.
4) Truly understanding the excellent value that they are receiving makes it significantly easier for patients to feel that it is worth doing the extra paperwork for verification documents.
TISA Follow-up: The above advantages are striking, and I have nothing to add except, the above tip is an excellent one. It also helps motivate me to do the extra documentation work as well.
Tip provided by:
Rosemarie Borjon, RN