Today’s most successful adherence programs are no longer one-way communications solely about the product. Rather, they employ a more holistic approach that encourages patient interaction.
Because your adherence program is only as successful as the patients who are enrolled and engaged, it’s best to consider the ways you can make your programs more accessible, relevant and customizable to your patients’ unique needs and preferences.
The Immersion Approach
To start, your program should immerse itself into the patient’s unique healthcare situation, including — but not limited to — the patient’s health condition and specific medication or treatment, support system or caregivers, socioeconomic status and other factors. Knowing this information, the most effective adherence program designs also consider the reasoning behind communication channel selections, allowing patients to interact through their preferred methods.
By knowing your audience and recognizing the levels of engagement, you can recommend and deliver a multifaceted program that reaches the patient (as well as his or her caregiver, when necessary) and the physician.
Personalizing your adherence program can go a long way in achieving better outcomes. The program’s communications — or more specifically, the conversations that take place — should be customized to enhance engagement, increase the program’s success rates and ultimately, improve the patient’s health.
How to Customize Effectively
Customization of your adherence program can and should involve:
- Understanding the patient’s personal barriers. The most effective programs involve one-on-one conversations with the patient to uncover the personal barriers to adherence — physical, emotional, economic, practical or otherwise. A personal relationship with the patient can allow an agent to pick up on those cues in conversation, so that these barriers can be addressed throughout the full course of the program.
- Delivering flexible content. Allowing your agents to use their own words within the guidelines of approved messaging is much better-received by a patient than a script read word-for-word on a call. Make sure your content is conveyed in easily understandable, conversational terms and stays fresh over the course of a program.
- Considering agents’ roles beyond “message delivery.” Your agents have the potential to be more than message-deliverers; they are supporters, educators, and advocates, and they provide resources that are useful and helpful to each patient’s full scope of care throughout treatment programs.
Allowing your patients and agents to develop one-to-one coaching relationships throughout the course of your program can pay dividends in improving patient satisfaction and compliance with adherence programs. It also empowers your patients to be more involved in their care.
For more on designing patient adherence programs, see my full article in DTC Perspectives