Although great strides have been made in the development of new medications for so many disease states, significantly fewer strides have been made in the battle to get patients to fill and refill their medications and to use them as intended for the most effective results. Indeed, the high cost of specialty drugs and their unique delivery mechanisms have made it more difficult for pharmaceutical manufacturers to help their patients achieve adherence.
A support program that puts the patient’s experience front and center can help pharma brands strengthen their relationships with both patients and prescribers—which is needed to drive adherence. When designed and implemented by a service provider that can tailor a solution to address a brand’s specific needs, patient assistance programs support the end-to end-medication journey for a patient, beginning with awareness and continuing through enrollment, access and determination, affordability, and Rx triage.
Layering patient engagement to support each step of the journey can strengthen each patient’s access to therapy. These types of precision communications allow patients to better understand their access to affordability offerings, the status of their insurance verification process, and ultimately medication fulfillment. Additionally, planning ongoing communications can help to encourage therapy adherence. These strategies and solutions are tailored to best meet the brands’ objectives and the patients’ needs.
Using the Technology that Patients Use
As patients have become accustomed to using their mobile devices for communications about their medication, pharma brands are embracing more and more mobile technology. Mobile-first solutions can help patients feel more actively engaged and empowered, giving them access to prescription support services and connecting them to alerts, reminders, support communities, and live chat with nurses and case managers—all of which ultimately help boost first fill and ongoing adherence.
Pharma can additionally deliver targeted messaging to the patient at the point of care, via their providers’ electronic health record systems. This includes relevant clinical information, access to patient support programs, and financial savings offers that can be pushed directly to the patient through their patient portal or via SMS. These messages can drive adherence to medication therapies.
Empowering Patients Through Ongoing Communication
Ensuring patients fill their first prescription as they begin their course of treatment is obviously a critical step in the retention process. Through access programs, patients are looped in, via text, about known prescription journey hurdles (prior authorization, as an example) to further demystify what can be a very confusing process.
Once patients have filled their first prescription, keeping them on their medication often proves more challenging. Ongoing adherence strategies promoting regular patient communication can help accomplish this goal by focusing on relevant clinical messages, refill and dosing reminders, and medication fulfillment tracking augmented by case management support via click-to-call functionality. These tools provide patients with all of the relevant information needed to empower them throughout their journey.
The tools and channels available for pharma brands to engage patients have never been more varied, so understanding how to best implement them in order to meet patients where they are in their daily lives is critical for maintaining ongoing adherence.