How to Work Differently: Hub & Specialty Pharmacy Models East Conference Summary

[Author:

ALLISON CUTTS  |  Executive Director, Business Development and Sales – Patient Support Solutions]

How to Work Differently

At the Hub & Specialty Pharmacy Models East conference last month, many of the presentations discussed the impact of COVID on patient support programs and the need to work differently. Ideas were shared collectively on how to continue supporting patients in a nurturing and authentic way, while leveraging Telehealth technologies and services to aid in patients to stay empowered, engaged, and connected while maintaining health outcomes that were favorable.

Summary of Themes Shared

COVID Impacts on Patient Care

COVID’s impact on patients truly highlighted the need for better digital support and Telehealth strategies to provide access to care that is secure, easy to use, and customizable. While Telehealth support for patients is a step in the right direction, there are still many barriers to success.

Uptake for Telehealth services during COVID was up 80% in non-specialty areas (e.g., behavioral health representing 50% of volume of patient care). As patients transition out of the pandemic, only 10% shifted back to in person visits, and hybrid models evolved, as patients want both virtual and in-person support with their healthcare needs.

Patient Personalization of Care and Underserved Populations

Patients faced many challenges during the pandemic, including how to access care remotely. Pharmaceutical, hub services organizations, and healthcare providers have been finding new ways to provide valuable support for patients’ full continuum of care virtually.  To do so, they have searched for technology platforms that are easy for patients to use and trust. Some of the most common virtual health needs include behavioral health support, online pharmacy ordering, financial assistance, remote patient monitoring, digital coaching and coupons to ease cost of medications.

Virtual care can be effective in reaching diverse patient populations and can help manage patients’ demand for a more personalized experience. Remembering patients are people with individual needs and understanding how to support these individuals with a digital strategy is key to a successful patient support program.

Another challenge identified included how to best to provide digital care and support to patients in underserved populations that may not have access to technology.  There is no silver bullet on how to reach all patients.  However, many speakers suggested working collaboratively with local clinics and non-profit organizations to help patients in underserved communities.

Digital Health Impacts: Pharmaceutical/Hub, Patient, Provider & Payers          

The growth in demand for supporting patients digitally has created challenges for pharmaceutical, healthcare providers, and hub organizations, such as:

  • How to support the increased demands to support more patients?
  • How to track patients digitally?
  • How to manage the increase in digital information within the existing workflows and resources to the patients?
  • What automated workflows, and measurable KPIs could be used to assist patient access and hub services organizations?

Additionally, organizations supporting patients need to create surveys to assist in identifying patient and provider needs and gaps in services being offered. More analytical reporting and artificial intelligence is needed to assist patient access service organizations to provide proactive decision making, and staffing changes to support more patients embracing digital health strategies.

Patient Hub support organizations shared exploring more digital engagements and pathways to provide real-time patient support. Suggestions for digital communication shared during the conference ranged from patient portals, automatic appointment reminders, remote patient monitoring, digital behavioral coaching and wellness support programs to improve patient clinical outcomes. Digital care programs focused on specific disease states to support patients more longitudinally and improves patient adherence. The use of technology to help patients communicate and be more receptive is key to any support programs being offered.

Digital health transformation will require a continued focus on remote monitoring of patients, virtual engagement with pharmaceutical companies, hub teams and healthcare providers. Technology that is patient and provider friendly providing relevant content for patients’ continuum of care will improve engagement activities and interactions and reduce the burdens on providers and care teams supporting patients.

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (ML/AI) is crucial for digital health advancements to aid and support patients starting complex and multi-faceted disease therapy programs.  Continuing to leverage predictive analytics to support patients is a must to ensure improved outcomes and more “personalized” digital care model. Customized ML/AI-driven technology could provide pharmaceutical and hub organizations with real-time analytical and decision-making workflows. This data can help to align the right resources operationally at the right time and drive better workflows to support the patient’s care journey.

In Summary, this year’s Hub and Specialty Pharmacy East Conference highlighted a strong need for all support organizations to focus on “How to Work Differently,” by:

  • Strong alignment with impact teams such as providers, payers, and patients to implement successful digital support programs.
  • Aligning with patients’ needs to create personalized support programs, using technology as a platform, along with personal human interaction needed for superior care.
  • Utilizing modular, interoperable technology platforms to engage patients and providers in real-time to provide timely and customized interventions.
  • Analytical reporting and ML/AI tools to provide more proactive services aligned with patient longitudinal care to drive proactive support real-time.
  • Continuing to try to reach underserved populations with local clinics and support groups and working to support all patients regardless of socio-economic factors.

 

At Medocity, we focus on helping organizations to “Work Differently” with our digital patient-centric care connected ecosystems.

To learn more and/or to schedule a demo, contact Allison Cutts at acutts@medocity.com.