Specialty Service Programs: Gearing up for Next Generation Technologies - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Specialty Service Programs: Gearing up for Next Generation Technologies


Pharmaceutical Executive


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Pressure is growing for solutions that allow biopharma companies greater adaptability and availability to meet the demands of various specialty distribution plans. Not surprisingly, more service models have sprung up to meet those demands.

For example, distribution plans that call for taking advantage of direct-to-specialty, retail-at-specialty, or ultra-limited networks can now make use of leaner hub models that perform effective in-take and triage, but bypass some of the traditional upfront manual reimbursement and benefits activity. These place greater reliance on benefits software technology and customized specialty pharmacy arrangements to service the patient.

Those favoring this leaner hub approach argue that it improves speed to fill and pushes many of the "minding the gap" costs on to the specialty pharmacy. The trade offs of this approach likely include the loss of control for biopharma companies along the patient journey, lack of visibility on how the patient was actually serviced, re-triage and dropped patient issues, and an overemphasis on coordinating the pill fill vs. building strong patient relationships.




A valuable option for those seeking a leaner model, but wanting to manage the trade–offs, is to select an independent hub service provider. Such hub service providers can deploy a lean model using the latest technology platforms, while at the same time playing the distribution-neutral role of providing a valuable feedback loop, facilitating accountability and more honest reporting, and intervening quickly when an optimal patient experience is in jeopardy.

As the fullest range of hub services becomes mission critical for more successful specialty products, biopharma sponsors are seeking improvements in their command and control over hub services with the aim of making them an area of core competency for their organizations.


Figure 1
While taking the large step of moving hub services in-house for internal teams to manage and run is certainly a viable option, another newer option is the hosted-onsite hub model (Figure 1). This model provides much of the same benefits of an internal on-premises solution, but without some of the ownership risks and requirements to take that large step all at once. Under the hosted on-site model, biopharma companies get the full benefit of a hub service provider's experience, platform, and staffing, as well as a transparent window into the nuts and bolts of supporting the patient journey. In some cases, the hosted on-site model may come with a buy-out option or be provided under a rent-to-own contract model.


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