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Choosing A Hub Partner to Drive Launch Excellence: A Decision-Maker's Guide

Choosing A Hub Partner to Drive Launch Excellence: A Decision-Maker's Guide

An effective launch sets the stage for a new drug’s long-term success. It shapes provider and patient perceptions, drives medication starts and refills, and fuels brand traction. After investing significant time and resources to develop and commercialize a drug, manufacturers can’t afford launch missteps. 

As the 2024 Patient Services Report illustrates, it’s critical to select a hub partner with the comprehensive capabilities to support a successful drug launch. This annual report uses survey data to explore how the needs, challenges, and priorities of leading pharmaceutical manufacturers are evolving in today’s dynamic market.  

For a closer look at all the survey results, download the 2024 Patient Services Report: Revealing Manufacturer Priorities: Patients Naturally Take Center Stage 

Keeping the Patient in Focus 

The survey results make it clear that manufacturers’ business objectives revolve around the patient: Increased patient satisfaction emerged as the top objective over an 18-month horizon (scoring a 4.4 out of 5), followed closely by improved support across the patient journey. So when a manufacturer evaluates a hub to support a newly launching drug or existing brand, the vendor’s patient support capabilities tend to weigh heavily into the decision. 

A cross-functional team typically drives the hub partner assessment and selection process, with the market access group often leading the engagement. One-third of the market access professionals who responded to the survey indicated they’re the primary decision-maker when choosing a hub, while the remaining two-thirds influence the decision.  

When ranking various vendor attributes, market access leaders consistently chose two patient-centric factors as their highest priorities: a comprehensive suite of patient services solutions and a strong understanding of how to align the program with the patient journey. The desire for a broad set of solutions reflects the need to select a provider capable of meeting the diverse requirements of varied stakeholders.  

While the top criteria for selecting a best-fit hub focus primarily on the patient, other considerations play an important role. When seeking a hub partner to support a brand launch, most manufacturers noted they prefer a flexible service offering they can customize to their needs. Manufacturers also evaluate the vendor’s performance metrics, looking for evidence that the provider consistently delivers effective patient services programs. 

To see which vendor performance metrics are most often evaluated in the selection process, download the 2024 Patient Services Report.

An Evolving Hub Selection Process 

Historically, the hub evaluation process placed a high priority on the provider’s ability to ensure the patient can access and afford a drug—two key drivers of launch success. In turn, the RFP and subsequent discussions often revolved around services like benefit verification, program enrollment, and patient financial assistance support.  

Though a successful launch demands capabilities like these to drive new prescription starts, an increasingly complex patient journey demands a greater degree of support. For instance, specialty manufacturers recognize the dynamic interplay between drug initiation, adherence, and persistence—especially for complicated therapeutics—as well as their impact on patient health outcomes. As a result, they’re fine-tuning the evaluation process to place greater emphasis on capabilities that support the patient more holistically, across the entire care journey, through every treatment barrier they’re likely to encounter.  

Manufacturers described some hubs as anxiety-producing and expensive. Download the 2024 Patient Services Report to see how the industry’s largest hubs stacked up on this crucial attribute. 

Key Questions for Assessing a Hub’s Launch Capabilities 

Every manufacturer will bring unique business objectives and program requirements as they assess hub partners to support a brand launch. Regardless of their specific needs, most find questions like the following valuable in choosing a partner that will support patients throughout their journey—driving improved drug initiation, better adherence, and higher refill rates. 

  • What is the breadth of the vendor’s offering? Does the hub provide patient support services that extend beyond medication initiation? 
  • How does the hub assess the barriers that keep an individual patient from starting or persisting on therapy? Does the hub take a personalized approach to addressing those barriers throughout the journey? 
  • What processes does the hub employ to smooth the patient journey, particularly at the touchpoints that most affect initiation and adherence? 
  • Does the hub have the flexibility to customize both patient and provider touchpoints based on their needs and preferences? 
  • Can the hub provide patient navigators or nurses who will help patients overcome their unique barriers to treatment? 
  • How does the hub use technology to streamline program enrollment and improve drug initiation? 
  • Does the hub integrate with the provider’s native workflow? Do they integrate with the various systems the provider already uses, like electronic medical records (EMRs) and patient management systems?  
  • Will the hub provide reports that measure program performance and enable the manufacturer to continually optimize the program? 

The 2024 Patient Services Report provides additional insights into the top issues impacting patient services, how this dynamic industry is evolving, and how leading manufacturers are responding. Download the full report for a more detailed look at the state of the patient services landscape.  

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