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The Key to Better Patient Support: Picking an Adherence-Focused Vendor

The Key to Better Patient Support: Picking an Adherence-Focused Vendor

Patient support programs have traditionally aimed to ensure that patients can access and afford their therapies. However, many of these programs overlook the critical aspect of helping patients adhere to their prescribed medication throughout the treatment journey. Adherence is essential for both patient health outcomes and the commercial success of a therapy. By partnering with third-party experts to integrate adherence support into their programs, leading manufacturers are seeing substantial benefits for patients and healthcare providers.

How Does Adherence Fit into a Manufacturer’s Plans?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers invest substantial resources in developing new drugs, bringing them to market, and building brand awareness among patients and healthcare providers (HCPs). However, they sometimes fall short in ensuring patients adhere to their prescribed medication regimens. Given that almost half of all drugs for chronic conditions aren’t taken as prescribed, nonadherence is a widespread problem. This can lead to suboptimal health outcomes and dissatisfied patients who damage the brand’s reputation by voicing their frustrations on social media and patient forums. Poor outcomes and patient experiences can subsequently erode providers’ confidence in the medication.

Leading manufacturers recognize the impact of this. In fact, in the 2024 Patient Services Report, manufacturers identified adherence rate as an important metric when evaluating Hub vendors, rating it a 4.1 out of 5.

However, competing priorities often lead manufacturers to sideline adherence. Early in a drug's lifecycle, manufacturers aim to build market share by eliminating access barriers, emphasizing traditional hub services such as benefits verification, prior authorization, and financial assistance. Unfortunately, neglecting adherence results in missed opportunities: not only to enhance health outcomes and improve brand perceptions, but also to gain valuable insights into the patient experience. Understanding patients' challenges with therapy and the support they need to stay on treatment is invaluable. Without a strong connection to the patient population, manufacturers struggle to obtain the insights necessary to improve the patient experience and ultimately, the drug's success.

Adherence Support Benefits Both Patient and Provider 

As patient support programs evolve to focus more holistically on the entire patient experience, integrating adherence has become a higher priority. This shift is prompting many manufacturers to seek out experienced hub providers who can seamlessly incorporate adherence services into patient services programs.

Given that the patient journey during treatment is ridden with challenges, patients encounter critical points where they may discontinue therapy due to various obstacles. A comprehensive program that includes adherence strategies ensures patients receive the necessary support to overcome these obstacles, supporting optimal health outcomes.

The benefits of an adherence-focused patient experience program are equally significant for healthcare providers. Providers understand the challenges patients face adhering to complex treatment plans, especially for specialty therapies. However, due to large patient loads and staffing shortages, it can be difficult to support each patient's unique needs. A well-designed patient experience program complements the support provided by healthcare staff, working towards the common goal of achieving better health outcomes.

How Providers Like CareMetx Support Adherence 

When manufacturers contract with an experienced third-party partner to administer adherence services, they gain the benefit of strategies and best practices honed over countless drug programs and patients. The value of this comprehensive approach is evident in the results that leading specialty manufacturers are achieving. 

For example, research shows that oral chemotherapy adherence rates can be as low as 16%, which is far below the rate for infusions administered by a clinician.1 To drive a high rate of adherence for its oral oncology drug, one specialty manufacturer worked with CareMetx to develop a holistic patient services program that included adherence administration.  After nine months in the program, 85.8% of patients were adhering to the therapy regimen—a dramatic increase over the 66.2% adherence rate prior to the program’s inception. (For more details on this highly successful program, download the case study.) 

Results like these demonstrate the tremendous value that manufacturers can unlock when they integrate adherence strategies and techniques into a patient services program. Though each program design is unique—varying based on the drug product, administration method, patient population, and other factors—several best practices prove effective in improving adherence rates. These include:  

  • Using a single, robust patient services platform to administer the program across the patient journey, using purpose-built technology that is scalable to large patient populations 
  • Designing a patient services program that provides end-to-end support—from the time the patient is diagnosed with the condition through the entire treatment plan 
  • Conducting objective assessments to determine each patient’s barriers to treatment, the social determinants of health (SDOH) that will most impact this patient, and whether they’re new to the therapeutic or have used it before 
  • Using the assessment results to segment patients by degree of adherence risk and types of barriers they’re most likely to encounter 
  • Personalizing the support each patient receives based on their adherence risk factors, which includes customizing the messages and resources provided, the delivery channels, and the cadence of touchpoints   
  • Further tailoring adherence services based on the type of drug product or therapeutic area—for example, potentially providing more support for a complex infused or injected drug vs a self-administered pill 

By designing and administering holistic programs that integrate proven adherence approaches, a partner like CareMetx can greatly improve the patient experience, remove treatment barriers, and help ensure patients take therapies as prescribed for the optimal results. 

For more insights on the patient services trends impacting how manufacturers approach their patient services programs, download the 2024 Patient Services Report. Or contact CareMetx to learn more about our capabilities.

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