The impact of the global pandemic has been felt across all facets of life, including medical care. Telehealth, which was already gaining in popularity, received a major boost as a result of COVID: Before the pandemic, 56 percent of Americans did not believe they could receive the same level of care from telehealth compared to in-person care, but recent polling shows nearly 80 percent of Americans now say it is possible.
And with 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions never filled and about 50 percent of medications for chronic conditions not taken as prescribed, meeting patients where they are to help them through their medication journey has never been more essential. As patients are becoming increasingly comfortable relying on their smartphones for remote medical care, the mobile channel can also offer a key way to provide access to support services.
When starting a new therapy, patients not only must deal with the complexities that arise between the time a therapy is prescribed and when they actually begin treatment, but they also face the daunting task of integrating medication schedules, managing side effects and/or chronic pain, and a host of other realities that come along with the therapy.
New tools offer patients a simple and seamless way to access support services and connect them to alerts, reminders and support communities, ultimately helping to boost adherence. These tools – including live chat with nurses and case managers, access to copay support, and the ability to match patients with others experiencing similar challenges – leverage the patient’s phone to integrate the therapy journey into their daily routines and help empower them to take a more active role in their own care.
Additionally, access to mobile tools means patients are no longer bound to traditional customer service hours to find the support they need. Many vital support elements, such as affordability assistance, can be provided through self-service features while providing patients a way to digitally raise their hand for additional support.
Indeed, mobile support has shown to lower medication drop-off rates while helping increase enrollment in patient support services and leading to higher rates of patient satisfaction. For example, results show 2 to 6 percent less initial drop-off and 30 percent less drop-off after three months when brands invest in the mobileCare Manager tool for their patients. This also leads to increased patient hub enrollment and overall higher patient satisfaction rates.
Streamlining access to support services via channels such as mobile is vital for patients, as it allows them to interact in real time as they embark on their journey. At the same time, providers benefit by gleaning valuable insights into patient behavior. Understanding which services patients are using via which channels and how often lets providers optimize efforts to reach them where they are, ultimately supporting better patient outcomes.
Insights into patient behavior also help pharma brands better understand which services they are using, and how often, to help marketers optimize their programs, supporting better patient outcomes. Specialty medication brands have different needs to best support their patient population and their access challenges. Giving them ability to connect in various ways (SMS, mobile web, mobile app) meets patients on their terms and enables brands to deliver the appropriate level of support, build a program that works best for their drug.
A wonderful analog for the shifting dynamics in healthcare and patient access support can be found in consumer finance. While the core services of depositing, withdrawing, and transferring remain constant, the ability to accomplish these tasks has changed drastically and is now easier than ever. The same can be said for vital patient access services and the shifting momentum to meet patients where they are. Patients deserve the ability to access fundamental support to ease the burden of their journey regardless of date and time.
For patients navigating their medication journey, the experience is often scary and painful. Removing barriers to adherence by incorporating tools that make the process invisible, seamless and affordable can make all the difference between successful treatment and abandonment. Ultimately, mobile tools deliver better outcomes for providers, pharmaceutical brands and most importantly, patients navigating through their mediation journeys.