As the health care landscape grows more complex, pharmaceutical companies are investing in patient services to ensure patients can access the treatments prescribed for them by their doctor. But not all patient services deliver on the promise of being “patient centric.” Even a call from a hub nurse or case manager may not deliver the support patients need, if those needs aren’t properly understood.
Start with the end in mind
How can pharma provide more patient-centric support? A good place to start is with the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will define success. BioPharma companies are, at heart, data-driven organizations, motivated by evidence of how well medicines and interventions work. If the goals of a PSP include delivering patient-centric support, it’s important to build in metrics aligned with that purpose.
We encourage our clients to create Patient Support Scorecards that include a mix of KPIs aligned with the patient treatment journey – from patient engagement, to communication effectiveness, and ultimately adherence. Each group of metrics forms a key step toward program success:
1. Operational – These may include the completion of training programs, SOPs and contracts, and approval of promotional materials and content – to help assure readiness.
2. Engagement – Statistical measures that track the volume, efficiency and productivity of workflows (e.g. number of patients enrolled in PSP; number of PAs or BIs processed).
3. Patient Beliefs – These KPIs help assess the efficacy of support interventions, from the patient perspective.
4. Adherence – Building upon the prior ‘steps’ enables better adherence – an important, shared goal for the business and for key stakeholders invested in improving patient outcomes.
Address patient beliefs
Health psychology is a valuable discipline that informs and enhances the effectiveness of PSPs. Patient beliefs are known to be key factors influencing health behaviors, such as medication adherence or the pursuit of follow-up tests and screening. Embedding psychology-related metrics into a PSP scorecard, can help teams gauge the effectiveness of the communications and interactions.
For example, to assure adherence, patients need to first understand the nature of their condition, the importance of the treatment for disease management, plus how and when to take the medication. Feelings of mastery and self-control, and confidence in their physician may also impact patient behavior.
Using health psychology to identify key patient beliefs and drivers of behavior provides for the creation of more active and interventional PSP content. Corresponding Patient Belief metrics should be monitored to assess how well PSP materials and touchpoints change perceptions and build understanding among program enrollees. These are key drivers of adherence rates.
Measure program efficacy
Leveraging health psychology in the creation of PSPs leads to improvements in patient adherence. For example, we created a PSP to help patients with a cardiovascular disease better understand the condition and the necessity for additional treatment. After 8 months of communications, we saw a 30% increase in prescription refills for PSP enrollees versus non-enrollees. In another PSP, we created self-management resources to help patients with a rare disease adjust to oral, self-administered therapy. The lift in adherence for patients enrolled in the PSP (+6% after 1 year) translated into $2MM+ in additional product sales.
Indeed, patient-centricity can lead to better PSP design and business results. If “we are what we measure,” then patient service scorecards should include patient-centric KPIs to keep teams focused on delivering effective support to patients.
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