As we look ahead to 2017, developing patient-centered support and adherence programs becomes even more vital for pharmaceutical companies to stay competitive and improve outcomes. Not to mention, successful adherence programs are good business in that they help maximize prescription revenue, for both new and refill prescriptions.
There are several factors contributing to a heightened focus on adherence — the boom of targeted therapies and the specialty drug market, and with the precision medicine model expected to continue to gain momentum in the coming months and years. As pharmaceutical companies continue to develop more individualized treatments, their engagement programs need to reflect that personalized approach.
Today’s most successful patient adherence programs and patient communications go beyond thinking solely in terms of the “patient.” They’re focused on supporting the well-being of the whole person. This means that programs to support precise therapies should be tailored yet adaptive.
Leveraging a More Detailed Patient Profile
Adherence programs which support specialty or targeted treatments are, by their very nature, tailored to particular patient profiles. Most companies have data on the likely patient demographics, as well as more details on anticipated side effects. This information is usually acquired during research trial phases of specialty drugs, and should be considered and applied to the development of adherence programs. For example, certain oncology treatments may be the second or third line of a staged treatment program, so that provides insight as to how this treatment fits into the patient’s entire healthcare journey. And knowing the likely side effects, especially those that change during the course of a treatment, can help guide nurse health coaches in their interactions day by day or week by week.
Being Flexible Goes a Long Way
At the same time, being adaptive to the needs of the patient differentiates your program. Especially in programs that accompany specialty treatments, nurse health coaches need to have some flexibility in their conversations, which means not always following a line-by-line script or the recommended campaign sequence. It also requires coaches to recognize the unique needs of the patient and those complicating factors that accompany more complex therapies — cost and insurance, self-administration, and so forth.
For the investment companies make in specialty treatments, taking a custom approach only multiplies your returns: Adherence rates are more likely to soar, patient outcomes can improve, and patients are often more satisfied with the program and have a more positive view of the treatment.
Read more about precision medicine’s impact on patient engagement and adherence in the special Year in Preview edition of PharmaVOICE.