Synopsis: Patient Support Programs are services designed for patients and/or patient caregivers to help manage a treatment process. These are built to provide healthcare professionals with support for their patients’ basis interactions focused on awareness, education, medication adherence, disease outcomes and recovery. These programs offer help in maintaining adherence to therapy through total patient management, which improves the patient’s quality of life while increasing drug therapy effectiveness. These also educate the caregivers and keep the physicians focused on the treatment process. It is a virtuous circle that brings benefits to everyone involved, from patients to doctors. New technologies have made remote communication possible between patients and clinics, and these programs allow for an enhanced treatment program focused on improving adherence to therapy.
Healthcare around the world has witnessed a change in trend in the last few years. The focus has steadily moved towards being patient-centric, giving rise to initiating programs that benefit the patients. Most of the time, when you think about patient support, what comes to mind is financial assistance. In reality, patients want more than that. From diagnosis to treatment initiation and follow up, there usually are multiple gaps in the healthcare journey. Identifying and addressing these gaps helps the patients and ensures that their needs are taken care of. Designing patient-focused programs and services enhance the patient’s experience and outcomes, resulting in improved patient understanding, adherence, and better results.
Healthcare givers and takers are increasingly taking a more holistic view of therapies and treatments. Things are no longer limited to consultation and medication.
- Commonly known as patient support programs, these were created to support patient access to complex medications and help them navigate complex healthcare systems. The primary purpose of these programs is to help deliver the optimal healthcare experience for patients. While it meant providing medicinal instructions, enabling insurances, and recording patient coverage for many years, the scenario has changed in current times. Nowadays, patient support programs are much more sophisticated, with a greater emphasis placed on providing services to the patient throughout the course of their treatment plan. Appropriate support can help patients through the on-boarding and initial treatment period, improve long-term adherence and reduce discontinuation. They have evolved to help patients take their medication correctly, educate them about the disease and recovery process, adhere to lifestyle changes, provide close assistance, manage schedules, enable financial support, and ultimately, deliver a better health outcome.
Patient Support Programs have numerous benefits attached to them, and these must be properly articulated and understood by patients, caregivers, payers, and physicians alike. While it supports the patients in the practical management of the disease and emotional and psychological care, it helps the doctors review and assess the patients’ situation and provide focused solutions. When it comes to patient services, the thing that patients desire the most is individualized support. Each disease and all patient journeys are unique, and standardized platforms and programs are often incapable of helping the patients. The approach requires a thoughtful, authentic engagement that begins with listening to patients to gain their perspective and getting a full understanding of their needs. Only when that is done one can design programs and build flexible solutions that are meaningful and actionable to the patients.
- Patient support programmes have a lot to offer to the healthcare world, looking at which pharma companies invest heavily in them. However, it comes with its own set of unique challenges. It begins right at direct consumer communication, where the core audience is reached out to realize their unmet needs. Next comes low patient sign up rates that remain a constant concern. Adding to the mix are safety data collections, compliance, and privacy safeguards to ensure that the companies provide accurate, relevant, and consistent data and secure it.
- In the modern digitally enabled world, patients are increasingly taking ownership and becoming more engaged in managing and treating their diseases. This phenomenon can be observed in the sheer number of companion apps that have been downloaded in recent years. There is increasing evidence of demand for digital patient services, with 48% of adults using or interested in using pharma digital assets and 68% of physicians more likely to prescribe a product with good patient support and services. New digital technologies are opening new channels and enabling more holistic patient support programmes.
- Patient support programs hold the power to revolutionize the healthcare and pharma sector. They have become a vital tool for pharmacovigilance due to a large amount of patient safety data that can be gathered relating to medical products’ real-world use, including adverse events. Having said that, these programmes by themselves cannot drive differentiation and increase trust and engagement. Programmes need to be well-designed and offer patients the flexibility to tailor to individual preferences. Moreover, consistently deriving insights from the current programs and filling in gaps to modify the programs is the key that will go a long way to enhance patient experience and outcomes.