Maintaining Medication Adherence Through Transitions of Care
The most effective medications are only as valuable to patients as the adherence measures set in place. Long recognized as the “Holy Grail” of commercialized pharmaceuticals, successful adherence strategies should always be one of the top priorities for pharma manufacturers. Incorporating adherence programs in manufacturers’ patient support strategies is critical for positive patient outcomes.
The need for specialty medications requiring initiation of therapy in a controlled healthcare setting has increased exponentially over the years. Conversely, patients are expected to continue these treatments in an outpatient setting (i.e., home, community-based infusion clinic, etc.). Patients and prescribers often experience difficulty navigating complex treatment plans as patients transition from one site of care to another.
At a site of care managed by a healthcare professional, patient management occurs under the direct supervision of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who provide access to the medication plus "hands-on" education, monitoring, and administration of the prescribed treatment. But what happens when the patient is released from that medical setting? Who will follow up with the patient to ensure they understand the treatment plan and risks of non-adherence? How can that patient be confident in successfully managing their treatment plan independently?
Pharma manufacturers must design an adherence program with the Specialty Pharmacy (SP) network partner(s) to deliver on these crucial questions successfully. SPs are critical in patient care, ensuring a seamless care transition plan while maintaining compliance and adherence to their treatment.
Any time a patient moves from a controlled setting, where the product is received and/or administered under healthcare provider supervision, to an alternate site of care (such as the home or a community-based injection clinic), the responsibility of medication adherence shifts to the patient or caregiver. Patients must understand what happens if they miss a dose or fail to attend an appointment. Therefore, the manufacturer and SP must work alongside the healthcare provider to provide consistent engagement for patient refills, education, resources, and medication administration support to ensure the patient adheres to the treatment plan.
Whether a patient is being discharged from a hospital or transitioning from a clinic to home-based care, the SP needs to coordinate product delivery, ancillary supplies, patient education, and clinical insights to assist the patient through their treatment journey. SPs in today’s market are well-equipped to provide wrap-around services to manage the patient journey and ensure adherence to the physician’s treatment plan. However, each patient care plan requires a level of personalization. Pharma manufacturers should consider the following attributes when designing an adherence program for their patients:
Lifestyle and home impacts
Dexterity or vision issues
In-home nursing support
There is no “one size fits all” approach; therefore, manufacturers must consider each patient with a personalized adherence plan with the SP. The patient experience needs to be customized to ensure the patient completely understands, is willing to adhere, and is comfortable with the prescribed treatment regimen. The ideal SP partner promotes and prioritizes an effective adherence regimen's design, approach, and implementation.
When designed and operationalized correctly, an adherence transition strategy can be essential to a best-in-class patient support program. At Archbow Consulting, we leverage our experience, industry knowledge, and commercial 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.
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