Provider Super Power #6: Frictionless care coordination between telehealth providers and Ro’s national pharmacy network

Written by Dr. Melynda Barnes, MD 

Written by Dr. Melynda Barnes, MD 

last updated: Nov 18, 2020

3 min read

Here's what we'll cover

  1. What it is

  2. How it works

  3. The big picture

Ro is building the future of healthcare by leveraging technology. We see that future as one in which technology empowers providers to deliver high-quality care and empowers patients to manage their health more easily and effectively.

In our Provider “Super Power” series, we take a deep dive into the tech-enabled solutions that are designed and built by Ro’s in-house clinical and engineering teams. These solutions empower providers — physicians, nurses, and pharmacists — to deliver the best possible care, experience, and results for patients on Ro’s telehealth platform. We call these “super powers” because they supercharge a provider’s ability to deliver high-quality care.

Unlike any other telehealth company, Ro’s nationwide network of affiliated providers seamlessly connects with its nationwide network of pharmacies to help physicians and pharmacists on Ro’s platform coordinate end-to-end patient care. In this article, we go deeper into Ro’s nationwide pharmacy network to understand what it is, how it works, and how it seamlessly integrates with Ro’s nationwide provider network to shape a patient-centric healthcare system.

What it is

Ro built its own pharmacy operating system and proprietary fulfillment and distribution network to deliver affordable medication to patients nationwide. No other telehealth system integrates a nationwide network of providers with a national pharmacy. This enables providers to seamlessly track a patient’s journey across the Ro platform and facilitates teamwork between physicians and pharmacists to deliver safe and appropriate treatment, from diagnosis to the delivery of medication and ongoing care. Patients using Ro’s platform are also able to have medications fulfilled at a local pharmacy when that option works better for them.This is a mock image for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect an actual patient profile or provider clinical notes.

How it works

Once a patient’s treatment plan is developed and if medication is prescribed, Ro’s network of pharmacists can review clinical notes about the patient’s health profile. For example, a physician can counsel a patient, create a treatment plan, and then pass additional clinical notes to the patient’s pharmacist to increase context and ultimately improve continuity of care. This visibility into a patient’s health profile, which is not typically found between in-person providers and retail pharmacies, allows the pharmacist to be informed of the patient’s interaction with the provider, the patient’s treatment plan, and adds another layer to flag any issues that may impact a patient’s safety, like drug interactions.

The big picture

Ro delivers the entire patient experience on one custom-built, healthcare platform — from online treatment to the delivery of medication to ongoing care. This is a stark departure from the fragmented, complex healthcare system many patients are used to navigating and helps Ro to keep its services and medication affordable, without insurance.

Approximately one in five new prescriptions are never filled, and among those filled, approximately 50% are taken incorrectly. Cost and insurance coverage can deter a patient from picking up their medication and taking it as prescribed. 69% of insured patients did not fill their new prescriptions when they had to pay more than $250 out of pocket, while only about 11% of patients with out-of-pocket costs of less than $30 abandoned their prescriptions at the pharmacy.Lack of adherence to medications caused by a patient’s inability to afford their medications significantly impacts health outcomes, particularly for patients with chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and cancer, who often take multiple medications. For those patients, the cost barriers and number/complexity of treatments can be even higher — adults with diabetes fill about four times as many prescriptions and spend about four times as much on prescription drugs as the general population.

At Ro, we built and own both our telehealth and pharmacy infrastructure. As a result, we are able to leverage the scale of our technology to give patients access to affordable care, no insurance required. And, due to this connection, Ro patients know how much their care will cost up front, from physician services to medications, if prescribed. This information is not always available to patients in a doctor’s office or pharmacy.

Ro’s integrated provider and pharmacy networks also facilitate ongoing interaction between patient, physician, and pharmacist and help providers track a patient’s journey across the Ro platform. The clinical notes between physicians and pharmacists help providers coordinate safe and appropriate treatment for patients. Providers are also able to ensure patients receive their medication as prescribed right to their doorstep when they need it. Ro enables providers to automate routine follow-up messages and provide ongoing counseling, encouraging patients to ask questions and check-in with their provider about treatment efficacy, side effects, or anything else they’d like to discuss. Ro’s custom-built, integrated technology empowers providers practicing on Ro’s platform to communicate more easily and offers patients a more continuous, high-quality healthcare experience with seamless connection to and between physicians and pharmacists.