OBJECTIVE: To explore diverse provider perspectives on: strategies for addressing patient medication cost barriers; patient medication cost information gaps; current medication cost-related informatics tools; and design features for future tool development.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted 38 semistructured interviews with providers (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and administrators) in a Midwestern health system in the United States. We used 3 rounds of qualitative coding to identify themes.

RESULTS: Providers lacked access to information about: patients' ability to pay for medications; true costs of full medication regimens; and cost impacts of patient insurance changes. Some providers said that while existing cost-related tools were helpful, they contained unclear insurance information and several questioned the information's quality. Cost-related information was not available to everyone who needed it and was not always available when needed. Fragmentation of information across sources made cost-alleviation information difficult to access. Providers desired future tools to compare medication costs more directly; provide quick references on costs to facilitate clinical conversations; streamline medication resource referrals; and provide centrally accessible visual summaries of patient affordability challenges.

DISCUSSION: These findings can inform the next generation of informatics tools for minimizing patients' out-of-pocket costs. Future tools should support the work of a wider range of providers and situations and use cases than current tools do. Such tools would have the potential to improve prescribing decisions and better link patients to resources.

CONCLUSION: Results identified opportunities to fill multidisciplinary providers' information gaps and ways in which new tools could better support medication affordability for patients.

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