Lessons learned from the frontline of pharma patient access programs


Introducing new Archbow team member, Justine Hughes

As the Archbow team continues to grow, we’re being methodical in ensuring we bring the right people on board. The addition of Justine Hughes to our team adds another layer of real-world, frontline operational experience that can be hard to find in a consulting practice. For our clients, it provides a priceless level of insight into optimizing solutions to meet the changing needs of patients and prescribers.

Justine has managed small programs with three FTEs, as well as large programs with as many as 200 FTEs, supporting both niche brands and blockbuster products. Experience has taught her that true patient access program success comes from first understanding the needs of the brand, patients, prescribers, and key stakeholders.

We asked Justine to share a bit of what she’s learned managing patient access programs over the years. Her insights are below. To learn more about Justine’s background and personality, read her bio here.

Justine Hughes: Lessons learned from the frontline

People matter most. This includes the individuals – patients, prescribers, and caregivers – that you serve AND the people who work on the program. Hiring people who will put your customers needs above all else is the number one key to success.

Understanding what motivates and drives your patients and caregivers can help you align your program offering to address unmet needs. These insights around patient motivation and goals can be passed along to the people working on your program daily so that they can have more meaningful interactions. That, in turn, builds brand loyalty.

You’ll never find the treasure without a map. It is nearly impossible to achieve your patient access goals without solid, tested processes to guide the way. Research what works well, apply your own filters to fit the unique needs of your customers, and follow the processes without fail. Be involved with your vendor partners and ensure you are aligned on both the program and brand goals. Don’t be afraid to admit failures and change the course if needed.

The right technology makes all the difference. Note that I didn’t say the “best” technology. Because some programs run best with a lot of technology and others need very little. Understand how your patient access program will support long-term brand goals and then ensure your technology will provide the trending and analysis you’ll need to back up the great service your program is offering your customers.

Knowing a lot about your customers will also allow you to make the best decisions around your technology needs. Are they tech savvy and desire apps, mobile connections, and social media contacts or do they prefer to just pick up the phone and call someone?

Know what success looks like and know how to track it. Program goals should be directly aligned to business goals, and every tactic should be structured to achieve those goals. Reporting capabilities can be almost as important as all other capabilities combined.

If you have a world-class program but lack data and reporting to support your claims, it will be hard to get key stakeholder acceptance. Ensure at program design that you are forward thinking to how the data being captured can tell your story downstream.

Not all success can be measured with numbers. Patient access programs engage with your customers day in and day out. The frontline team knows your patients’ favorite pets’ names and understands your prescribers’ preference for portal vs. voicemail. There’s immense value in these human connection points that will never show up on an operational dashboard. As you are building out your communication streams, ensure you are allowing relationships to be built along the way.

Please join us in welcoming Justine to the Archbow team. You can drop her a line here.


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