If the pharmaceutical industry has been talking about patient-centricity for a while, why hasn’t it happened to the degree companies aspire to? The answer: Regulations, technology gaps, and a deluge of data have limited the industry’s ability to gain insights into the patient experience and to engage them. Nowhere is that clearer than in patient service programs. There’s a great opportunity to get closer to a patient-centric model with these programs as organizations prepare their business systems for the future. We see three key areas to tackle: program structure, personalization, and data integration.
Historically, regulations that pharmaceutical organizations must adhere to have meant keeping patients at an arm’s length to avoid unnecessary risk. For example, despite the value of having a closer connection to patients, organizations have traditionally outsourced their patient services to hub providers to mitigate the risk of HIPAA violations related to the management of protected health information (PHI) and address other regulatory concerns like the Anti-Kickback Statute. Outsourcing cascades from connecting the experiences with financial assistance programs (like copays or discounts) to helping provide personalized patient support along their treatment journey. Organizations must evaluate their programs and leverage the newest technology to determine what to bring in-house.
Patients say they want a closer relationship with drug makers. Many will even share more personal information to get better service.* This is a call to action to think through every need of the patient and every potential touchpoint. These touchpoints are already expanding. Traditionally, patient service programs have focused on improving access, usage, and adherence to prescription drug treatments. Recently, these programs have expanded to include transportation services, access to peer support groups, and mobile apps that help with medication, behavioral, or treatment reminders. These services require a tighter connection and a better understanding of patients’ needs. Service agents and care teams can respond successfully only if they can get the right information when patients reach out to them. And patients are willing to help.
Getting access to the right patient data is a game changer — and it’s the only way to stay competitive. It enables internal teams to make predictive recommendations to help patients stay on treatment. The teams will also gain better access to real-world data like patient outcomes to track program results. But the growing tangle of legacy systems and patient data silos creates a challenge. Organizations need a data strategy and to invest in building the proper infrastructure. This should include a technology platform to ingest the data and analytics to produce proactive, actionable insights. Without a scalable solution, a company will have fewer insights into their business and lose a huge opportunity to understand their patients’ needs and fully put the data to work.