Delivering on the mission of personalized patient support
Patient populations for specialty drugs (such as neurologic disorders, rare disease, and oncology) can be small and widely dispersed, creating significant challenges when developing patient engagement and support programs. While emerging biopharmas (EBPs) historically invest heavily early in the access and affordability phases of the patient journey, many have not prioritized supporting patient needs as their treatment journeys continue.
The case for change
Patients today demand more from pharma; EBPs compete against large pharma with expansive portfolios who can more easily offer patients and their HCPs a wide breadth of resources. Fortunately, advances in patient services related technology can now help EBPs more effectively compete. Although some people-driven engagement remains critical, technology is an equalizing force that can broaden service reach, cater more specifically to certain patient needs, streamline engagement, and deliver value-based outcomes at a lower cost.
EBPs may wonder what kind of support patients expect, what is required to operationalize that support, when they need to scale, and how to support patients in the most cost-efficient ways. Technology-enabled services expand the reach of patient support programs (PSPs) to engage more people, so that EBPs can support small, geographically dispersed patient populations like never before.
Patient support is not one-size-fits-all, and not every patient wants the same type of support. Instead, the goal should be to provide support to the patients when they want it, how they want it, and in a way that builds trust. Leveraging technology such as virtual agents, self-service tools, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and chat bots, we can enable patients to be more connected to their care team. We can also achieve more personalized engagement and bridge critical care gaps among disenfranchised communities by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), all by learning distinct behavior patterns and quickly adapting program design.
Leveraging technology not only provides patients with an optimal experience, but also alleviates costs associated with access-related activities. This allows EBPs to reduce operational overhead and reinvest in downstream patient enablement support. For example, integration of hub and copay services into EHR systems and pulling Rx information directly from the HCP eliminates many mundane tasks managed by data entry specialists. Moreover, digital engagement can simplify communication and allow for proactive engagement with patients, such as immediate and continual alerts to patients of their prescription’s status and next steps.
Beyond operational improvement, technology, when deployed to collect consented passive and active data about the patient, can enable EBPs to quickly generate insights, drive future optimizations, and make investments that build their brand.
Leveling the playing field
Many big pharma organizations are already making investments to enhance their patient service offerings. Yet, these organizations have significant legacy contracts and platforms that can complicate transformation. For EBPs, new patient services technologies are already integrated, seamless, and more scalable, creating a fast mover advantage. Importantly, HCPs are more willing to write a prescription for a therapy that the patient can easily start and adhere to. If EBPs are investing in the mechanisms to make that happen, they will have an advantage over big pharma.
The right vendor is key
The time is now: patients, care partners, and HCPs deserve a consumer-grade, tech-enabled experience. IQVIA’s technology suite allows patient support teams to better understand the patient as a consumer and to engage with them effectively and efficiently to deliver on the trusted relationship core to any PSP. By leveraging technology to understand what motivates patients to stay within the treatment cycle, patient support teams can take targeted approaches to reach, engage, prioritize, and retain patients, always with their respective preferences and needs in mind.