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  • Tina Gafford

6 Essentials for Successful Clinical Adherence

Long recognized as the “Holy Grail” of commercialized pharmaceuticals, successful adherence strategies are always in high demand. As consultants, we’re often asked to advise on the best ways to incorporate adherence programs in manufacturers’ patient support strategies.

Tina Gafford, pharmaceutical consultant, Archbow Consulting

We asked new Archbow team member, Tina Gafford, to offer some insight into the makings of a successful clinical adherence program. After working as a nurse for more than 27 years, Tina now lends her expertise to Archbow’s clients.

6 Essentials for successful clinical adherence

By Tina Gafford

Adherence, or a patient’s compliance in taking medication correctly and persistency in completing the duration of treatment, is universally sought by pharma and biotech manufacturers.

Having a successful adherence program can mean different things to different organizations, depending on company goals, but the desire to improve patient outcomes while providing a consistent patient experience that ensures access AND provides emotional and social support can be common drivers.

As a nurse, I’ve learned that meeting patients where they are in their personal therapeutic journey can lead to a more successful adherence program, driving better illness management for the patient, more treatment options for physicians, and even increased revenue for the manufacturer.

What does “meeting the patient where they are” really mean?

It’s the idea that no two people are on the same journey and that, as humans, we all respond better to support and interventions when they fit into our schedules and account for our existing behaviors. Considering the patient experience not only from a global view but also from an individual patient’s view is instrumental in meeting patients where they are.

Everything from demographics to socioeconomic status, knowledge, access, and even level of engagement can influence a patient’s individual journey with a product. When clients ask us how to meet their patients where they are, we share the following focus areas:

1. Access to medication: focus on overcoming barriers to access, such as uninsured/underinsured status, high copays, receipt of medications, or transportation to physician, labs, or infusion center appointments.

2. Anticipate clinical challenges: consider the medication side effect profile and management, the method of administration, including frequency and timing, the presence and level of caregiver support, dietary needs, and the need for follow-up appointments with physician or labs.

3. Knowledge base: be prepared to provide information from beginner to advanced knowledge on the disease process and medication.

4. Measure patient engagement: use engagement surveys to measure support needs, patient/family acceptance of illness, beliefs about their condition, and willingness to participate in their own care.

5. Predictive analytics: once thought to be advanced, predicting a patient’s behaviors, responses, and journey has become more commonplace. Trending and benchmarking will help to customize the patient journey.

6. Customize engagement: get information to the patient the way he or she wants to be engaged, such as texting, dedicated hotline, virtual nursing support, in-the-home education/training, through their physician, from their pharmacy, or on-demand online access.

When designing an adherence program, it’s essential to take the time to really understand your patient and prescriber populations. With that knowledge, you can prioritize the focus areas listed here to best meet your patients where they are in their therapeutic journey.

When designed and operationalized correctly, an adherence program can be an essential element of a best-in-class patient support program. At Archbow Consulting, we leverage our experience, industry knowledge, and clinical backgrounds to help our manufacturer clients design programs that meet their unique needs and then assist in finding the best vendors to operationalize their programs. Contact us today if we can help you with your next adherence program.


Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.

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