Before EHRs and other digital systems became so prominent within healthcare, prescribers simply wrote prescriptions by hand, translating the information from a product’s approved label onto a sheet of paper. Frequently, sales representatives aided this process by showing the prescriber exactly how the product should be written, using a dosing card or other visual aid. But today, the process of creating a prescription is very different, and requires that manufacturers take steps to prepare their products for a smooth, effective launch.
As pharmaceutical marketers are now well aware, physicians commonly search for a desired product within their EHR or e-prescribing system, and then identify the correct product, dosage form, dose, doing frequency, duration of therapy and other elements of the prescription by making choices from a sometimes lengthy and potentially confusing list of options presented to them on an electronic screen. They can no longer simply “write out” their prescription, trusting that a pharmacist will interpret their intentions accurately. The choices and options available within the prescriber’s EHR or e-prescribing system will vary from product to product, of course, and if a physician is unfamiliar with a product (as is the case during any product launch), the probability of confusion increases. The entities that populate EHRs and e-prescribing systems with drug information aren’t trying to be confusing or unclear, of course, but they aren’t able to spend time thinking about how to optimize a new product’s information in electronic systems, either, in terms of clarity, ease of identification, and differentiation from other products and dosage forms. Doing that planning and thinking is left up to the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers don’t have people on staff that go through this planning and preparation often, because even large pharma companies typically launch only a handful of new products each year. And, unless deliberate thought and planning by people experienced with this process goes into this effort, the manufacturer is essentially leaving this preparation undone, or doing it in a suboptimal way, and just hoping that nothing confusing or inaccurate occurs in the process of getting a drug listed in the databases that populate EHRs and other Health IT tools. For products designed to produced hundreds of millions to billions of dollars per year in revenue for a pharma manufacturer, that’s a textbook case of being “penny wise and pound foolish”, but it occurs far too often because product launch teams simply don’t know any better. Time and again, we hear about marketing teams that have spent millions to get a product ready to launch, and even greater sums on the launch itself, only to find that they hit unnecessary roadblocks on the path to launch success that could have been prevented for a very tiny sum, relative to the amounts spent on other launch preparation activities.
The Corvus Solutions e-PI Manager (Electronic Product Identity Manager) is a process designed to assist manufacturers with preparing their products for the most accurate, easily differentiated product listing possible within drug compendia, which can lead to products that prescribers can quickly and easily find, differentiate from other options, and prescribe. The e-PI Manager system is also designed to make sure products are more easily identified and differentiated in pharmacy software and payer reimbursement systems, and e-PI Manager even allows the manufacturer to verify the proper and timely appearance of newly launched products within the leading EHRs used by prescribers.
Manufacturers often ask when they should start the e-PI process for their products. Whenever possible, this should begin before the product’s label is finalized with the FDA, because the product label is the foundation for how the product will be described by many different entities with the healthcare system, including the drug databases (“pricing compendia”) that supply EHRs, e-prescribing, pharmacy, and reimbursements systems with drug information. If you don’t have language in your label that was created with your product’s electronic product identity in mind, then it can make it much more difficult to have compendia publishers and their customers (e.g., EHRs) describe your product in their systems in a manner that you think is appropriate.
By way of example, something as simple as describing a product as a Pen or an Autoinjector, which may seem somewhat interchangeable to a manufacturer as they create their product label, can make a difference in the way two different compendium publishers list and describe a product in their systems. That can then cascade down throughout the healthcare system, leading to inconsistent descriptions of a product that can hamper prescribing, dispensing, and reimbursement. By reviewing a manufacturer’s draft label before it is finalized, possibly augmenting that review in some cases by also reviewing and drawing comparisons and contrasts with research on similar or competing products, our team is often able to offer suggestions to the manufacturer about how information in the label might be better phrased or listed, thereby avoiding problems that can be difficult or even impossible to address after the label is finalized.
The e-PI Manager system also helps the manufacturer as product approval and launch near, by helping the manufacturer optimize their compendia listing forms, which are often filed within hours of product approval with leading pricing compendia publishers. Then, once the product is launched, e-PI Manager examines the product’s listings within these major compendia to ensure accuracy, even before the product is published within most leading EHRs and other electronic systems. Finally, the e-PI Manager can even monitor for the product’s appearance as the product becomes available within these leading EHRs, helping the manufacturer better understand where their product is available to be electronically prescribed, and where it is not.
To discuss e-PI Manager for your in-development product, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.