Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires constant monitoring, and stringent medical adherence. With the emergence of Patient Support Programs (PSPs), the void causing broken adherence and average patient health outcomes can be meted out.
Type 2 diabetes, one of the most prevalent condition across the globe, with approximately 463 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes; by 2045 this will rise to 700 million(1). For over a decade and a half, healthcare systems of every country have innovated various Patient Support Programs (PSPs) to Type 2 diabetes. However, the gap is yet to be cemented thus creating a need for a fool-proof PSP.
Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (ADCES) have enumerated seven pillars of Diabetes Self-care including Healthy eating, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, reducing risks, and healthy coping.(2) An ideal PSP would encompass all these fundamentals to ensure expected clinical outcomes and ensure trustworthy condition management. Medication adherence and lifestyle modifications are key to managing the disorder. Therefore, having a support program that encourages, empowers and enables the beneficiary to follow a stringent medication adherence would derive better clinical outcomes.
A deep study and analysis of the current situation of any given chronic condition, feedback on the existing solutions, the gaps and challenges could help the design team to innovate a patient centric solution. Seamless outreach for the solution and encouraging one on one engagement with health coaches would boost the activation. Both activation and implementation would require building trust factors with the patients and care-givers and only constant results would validate the trust factor. Post the activation and implementation of a solution, continuous monitoring of the gap, lags would help improve the outcomes on a timely basis. According to a Deloitte study published in 2020, a well designed PSP can ensure information be transmitted at the right pitch which would be comprehensible for both-patients and payers. The study also mentions that new digital technologies in areas such as smart devices, user experience, and data modelling open up new opportunities to improve patient adherence.(3)
While designing a model program for Type 2 diabetes it is crucial to bear in mind to highlight the long-term impact of medication adherence is what will yield the best results, decrease the treatment cost and improve the holistic health of the beneficiary. Type 2 diabetes requires constant and uninterrupted monitoring and stringent medical adherence. Leaving the treatment midway or post some result, would impact the long term results. A well designed PSP can hand hold the patient from on-boarding the treatment to the initial stages of it to help continue the medication for a long time and discourage discontinuation. This in turn helps deriving augmented clinical outcomes and clears the pathway for further treatment.
A PSP designed for Type 2 diabetes could cover the ground for
- financial assistance in form of loan management, claims procedure
- Encourage medical adherence
- Guidance via Artifical intelligence enabled remote monitoring
- Create awareness through Education & counselling reached through emails, voice calls and SMSs and most importantly support clinical interventions.
A portfolio of PSPs could include multiple types of programs-Programs that support financial assistance, or creates awareness, extends counseling for a certain condition. The most common type of patient support program is the one that encourages Medical adherence, as the biggest gap identified by the industry is patients ‘dropping off’ a program or in clinical terms non-medical adherence. The common thread for all the various types of programs remains the same-Patient centricity.
Designing an ideal PSP could follow a product lifecycle. The stages begin with innovation followed by upscaling or growth where it finds its peak reaching the maturity level and subsequently attains the decline level. The innovation level, entails the identifying of challenges and opportunities mapping the current landscape are achieved. This stage requires the most amount of investment in time as well as monetary aspect. Typically, a program takes a minimum of five to 10 years to gain trust among the beneficiaries and start yielding returns for the company designing and promoting it. Basis the analysis done at the innovation stage, the growth stage begins with developing the design to suit the requirements and fill the gaps.
Designing patient support programs not only enhances patient outcomes but also positively impacts the financial condition of the healthcare system of a country implementing the PSPs. A McKinsey report based on 26 digital solutions implemented in Germany revealed that upto EUR 34 Billion were saved for a period of one year. (4)
The Apple and Google stores are populated with many mHealth apps across, innovated across the world. The steady progress and development in disease management and consumer health information continues to evoke interest for investors. The progress in the field of innovation for PSPs must be unhindered for making the healthcare system robust and seamlessly integrated.
- AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors for Managing Diabetes Effectively (diabeteseducator.org)