How Quality in Patient Services Programs Can be a Powerful Differentiator for Pharma and Biotech
By Douglas Bock
In today’s consumer-driven marketplace, quality of work is a defining factor in differentiating brands from their competition. Good quality is heralded by customers and rewarded with loyalty while poor quality often results in the opposite outcome.
One common measure of quality is variance from a controlled standard. In patient service programs, if your customer gets consistent levels of service regardless of the person they spoke with or the time of the week they called, this can be a good indication of quality control. By comparison, if a customer called your HUB and they got accurate, timely information one day, inaccurate information the next day, accurate but slow information the day after that, etc., that may be suggestive of quality concerns.
Poor quality within a HUB patient support service program can lead to delays in patient treatment, loss of prescriber confidence, and users seeking alternative avenues to access or competitive therapeutic options.
This harsh reality is leading more pharma organizations to ask, “What is poor quality costing us?” and “What can we do to stop the downstream impact of poor quality on our bottom line and brand reputation?”
With the rising costs of operating a HUB, are you seeing minimal results or value-added to your patient support offering? Ask yourself:
Do you find that you are focused on remediation efforts vs. opportunities to improve, re-design, or create new value for your brand?
Are customer complaints forcing you to create complaint trackers that do not produce any actionable improvements, but take hours away from time that could be better spent elsewhere?
Is poor quality output creating rework and reducing internal operational efficiency?
Do you find that the solution to addressing complaints, rework, and poor quality is to add “people resources” to fix the problems or issues?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be losing thousands of dollars in profit annually due to poor quality.
A Real-World Example
Using a real-world example, let’s say a HUB completes 200 benefit verifications (BVs) a day and has about 15 errors in that period. An error may be the wrong answer to a coverage question, but it also could be something as simple as not communicating the correct answer to the right person at an HCP office.
The immediate cost is the time involved in fixing the mistake. But longer-term, four or five errors may creep into the mind of the customer, and that customer may choose a competitor product next time. Rework might cost $50 per case, but the cost of a lost prescription may be $40,000 for a specialty product. The cost of each error is some weighted average of these values - let’s say $1,500 in this example.
Fifteen errors out of 200 BVs may not seem like it will significantly impact your business or customer experience, but at a cost of $1,500 each, you could be losing $22,500 each day because of poor quality. When you extrapolate that cost across a year (almost $6M in our example), you can better understand your cost of potential lost revenue (profit margin), market share, and prescriber confidence.
When quality comes first, acting as a framework and foundation for a program, there is rarely a need for remediation. That’s why we recommend that each new program design should begin with a Quality Management System (QMS). Often, organizations incorporate quality last in their planning, which leads to it being addressed first in remediation.
If your existing program wasn’t built on a QMS, know it’s not too late to make the right program changes. The costs associated with poor quality are almost always higher than the price of rebuilding with a solid QMS in place. Restructuring programs to focus on quality is a growing trend, and something our team works on every day.
Whether you’re trying to determine the COPQ in your program or you’ve already decided it’s time to build (or rebuild) your program on a QMS foundation, a pharmaceutical consulting company like Archbow can help. Contact us today to get started.
* Source: Success through Quality- First Edition – Timothy J. Clark
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.