2023 Ecosystem Predictions — Getting Specialty Medications to Patients Will Be Accomplished in 2023 Through Widespread Tech Adoption

Prediction by Julia Regan

Co-founder & CEO, RxLightning

RxLightning digitizes, automates and streamlines the historically complicated manual enrollment process of starting a patient on specialty medications. The company joined the Endeavor network through its Louisville office in July 2022. RxLightning co-founder and CEO Julia Regan was named an Endeavor Entrepreneur in July 2022. 

We’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to accelerating access to specialty medications. Driven in part by our country’s aging population, the number of Americans with chronic conditions will jump by 14 million during the current decade, and certain disease states requiring treatment with specialty meds, including cancer and diabetes, will account for the lion’s share of the alarming increase in chronically ill individuals. While drug makers are racing to meet escalating demand for specialty medications, getting life-saving prescriptions into the hands of those who need them is hindered by a cumbersome and sluggish patient enrollment process.

80% of all medications waiting for FDA approval are specialty drugs.

More than 80% of patients were enrolled on their specialty oncology medication in less than 24hrs with RxLightning compared to the average of 6-8 days.

What’s at Play?

An issue that’s been bubbling under the surface for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare a hard truth: burnt-out providers are not equipped to handle the complexities of onboarding patients to specialty medications. They lack the time, training, and, most glaringly, the technology to do so efficiently.

The gap between the overwhelming demand for specialty medications and a solution for quickly getting needed prescriptions to patients has widened to a chasm due to a myriad of factors that will have continued impact through 2023, including:

  • Increase in biologics – Drug manufacturers are scrambling to meet demand – and capitalize on a revenue opportunity – by producing copycat specialty drugs at breakneck speed.

  • Digital transformation – Healthcare is under pressure to harness the power of tech to meet patients where they are by serving them digitally.

  • Changing reimbursement models – With the shift from fee-for-volume to fee-for-value, the industry will continue to be rewarded for patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes.

  • Medicare drug pricing – Select high-cost drugs covered under Medicare Part D and Part B newly eligible for negotiation as part of the recently-inked Inflation Reduction Act could pose cost-sharing disparities and create unintended access issues.

An Informed Crystal Ball

To address the growing need for connecting patients with highly sought-after specialty medications, we saw the introduction of technology that simplifies the complicated enrollment process using automation. In 2023, as spending on specialty drugs soars to more than $1 trillion by the year’s end, we can expect wide adoption of the new tech that encompasses and revolutionizes the entire ecosystem of specialty pharmacy care.

2023 Mantra: Look forward and focus on the mission. There is a reason why the windshield is larger than the rearview mirror.