It’s been about 18 months since the pandemic began, and while we all have done our best to adjust to the new normal, unique challenges still come up for pharmaceutical brands, healthcare providers (HCPs), and patients.
Patient support partners have spent a great deal of time assisting brands in new ways to create moments of connection that help ensure patients are getting on and staying on therapy during this difficult time. During our webinar, Automation Reduces Patient Fallout, we discussed some of the challenges brands have faced in recent months, where they are finding success today, and ways they can grow their support in the future.
What have been some of the biggest challenges brands have faced over the past 18 months?
Ticia Cawley, VP Business Development: While most brands have an excellent hub and patient savings opportunities in place, we have found that patients and providers aren’t taking advantage of the services that are offered simply because they don’t know about them. The fact is, healthcare providers are increasingly using the EHR, so leveraging the EHR as a way to get the word out about savings programs is something brands should be doing. We are still living in the COVID environment where many are still feeling disconnected, so meeting patients where they are is crucial; and where they are is on the web and on their mobile devices.
What steps have you seen brands take that have been effective?
David Fidler, Director of Product Management: Brands who have been proactive in using the EHR in a variety of ways tend to see the most success. Remember that before a patient can even get their hands on their prescription, providers need to process benefit verifications (BVs) and prior authorizations (PAs). Brands that enable tools like a non-commercial pharmacy (NCP) are finding that supporting the providers’ staff is eliminating a lot of the time-consuming steps that non-electronic systems require. The key is to try to make it as easy as possible for the office to complete BVs and PAs.
The NCP gets the criteria from the payer so the staff is completing and sending the correct information the first time. The payer should then get fully structured data that allows for auto-approval, which generally takes a minute or two, rather than hours or days. Brands are seeing success because there is little to no misalignment in this process, which severely cuts down fill time from days to hours, and ultimately boosts access and adherence.
How can brands be successful in supporting patients and providers moving forward?
Ticia Cawley: The COVID pandemic has pushed patients and providers to heavily rely on e-services, digital communication, and smartphones. When brands work with a vendor provider, make sure they have the capability to ensure a strong digital presence to help reach patients electronically. Look for a variety of solutions, not just a one size fits all approach. Patient and provider needs are so complex and varied, so you need to be flexible with your services, and the vendor should be willing and able to collaborate with you to meet patient and provider needs, as well as your own.