In our first “Beyond the Pill” post, we discussed the increasing move towards patient-centric programs that go past an actual prescription to help build relationships with patients and physicians and facilitate the provision of a number of related services to improve compliance and treatment outcomes and keep patients on drug long-term. The benefit of such programs can extend beyond patients and drug developers, providing advantages for other important audiences, including nurses and physicians, patient advocates, and payers.
Value-added programs can be effectively integrated around advocacy groups. Outside the United States, where many countries bar drug manufacturers from interacting directly with patients, working with such groups to educate and assist patients is often a must. Through their demands for particular drug approvals and coverage, advocacy groups can influence better treatment access in addition to educating patients about their disease and their treatment choices. For drug developers, working with advocacy organizations can aid in gathering data on specific patient populations and markets. Such interactions can also help with clinical trial recruitment, as well as provide information useful for the selection of indications and trial endpoints that are meaningful for patients.
Physicians, too, see benefits from value-added services. Busy health care providers typically appreciate ease and convenience. Therefore, access at the doctor’s office can be driven by initiatives that simplify ordering, reimbursement, administration and risk management processes, as well as help educate patients and caregivers. Services that can reduce any disruption in the customer journey, from diagnosis to treatment, will have an impact.
For payers, keeping patients engaged and involved, including helping ensure a patient takes the right dose of the drug at the right time and remains on treatment as appropriate, helps justify their investment. Payers also value any support services that increase access and streamline reimbursement processes, especially for high-cost therapies and those — like cell therapies — that need individually tailored support.
In our final “Beyond the Pill” post, we’ll cover the business opportunities that patient-centricity provides, not just for pharma companies, but outside of the traditional health care industry as well.