CareMetx is committed to supporting the patient journey in a way that improves therapy adherence, persistence, and health outcomes. To inform this work, our team is always deeply interested in understanding what pharmaceutical manufacturers most need in a digital hub in order to achieve those objectives. So, we took a deep dive into this topic, conducting a comprehensive study involving one-on-one interviews and surveys with leading manufacturers.
Given the rapid, significant changes in the healthcare industry and the digital technology landscape, it’s not surprising that manufacturers report they need digital hub services that are flexible and agile. These services must be able to evolve as needs change- both at the corporate level and the therapy’s brand level.
As a field director at one manufacturer characterized it, flexibility in a digital hub comes down to:
“The ability of a hub provider to plug and play into different models, where they may be doing everything, or part of it, or working directly with a manufacturer or a specialty pharmacy, or third party.”
While flexibility proves essential when designing and implementing a drug program through an outsourced hub, the ability to stay nimble is equally important. Recognizing that the needs of their drug products are likely to change throughout commercialization, manufacturers made it clear they expect digital hub providers to remain agile throughout the product’s lifecycle.
One Size Does Not Fit All
A best practices approach will always guide the development of an effective digital hub program, drawing on a hub provider’s experience in serving the needs of a diverse group of manufacturers. But as evidenced by our findings, manufacturers expect those best practices to be coupled with the ability to customize digital hub services to their specific needs.
The more complex drug products have become—especially in therapeutic areas like oncology—the more important it has become for a manufacturer to tap digital hub services tailored to their unique requirements. As our research uncovered, a variety of factors influence the types of customizations a given manufacturer will value and need. For example, those that desire to deliver patient-centric drug programs are more likely to require high-touch engagement services from a digital hub provider.
The full Evolving Landscape of Digital Hubs report provides more details on these and many other factors that impact digital hub customization and the tailored approaches manufacturers are most likely to seek.
Ease of Use Remains a Priority
Even the most agile, customized digital hubs won’t fully meet pharmaceutical manufacturers’ needs unless they’re easy to use, for all stakeholders involved in the patient journey. Through our interviews with both manufacturers and healthcare providers, it became evident that one of the most important ways to deliver improved ease of use is via greater integration between the digital hub and the provider, ultimately yielding a better patient experience.
Through improved integration, manufacturers believe providers that prescribe their therapies will gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding a given product’s access challenges (which may be complex or nuanced, depending on the therapy) and how a patient uses the drug.
As critical as ease of use through integration is today, manufacturers expect this factor to rise in importance in the coming years. While EMR (electronic medical records) connectivity ranked relatively low on the list of hub services for manufacturers currently, they believe it will soon rise to the top, becoming the number one service that will prove integral to hub service providers in the next three years.
Looking ahead to the future of digital hubs, The Evolving Landscape of Digital Hubs highlights key strategies that agile providers like CareMetx will need to employ to respond to the growing need for better integration between hub services and the providers that prescribe specialty therapeutics. This includes everything from building stronger relationships with community-level provider groups, to minimizing portal administration, and more.
Keeping the Patient Journey Central
Above all, manufacturers seek digital hub providers that have intimate knowledge of the patient journey and build their services around it to support an effective patient experience. In fact, manufacturers shared that the best digital hub programs revolve around the specific journey a patient will experience for a given therapeutic, driving not only what services the program includes, but at which key points in the journey.
One interviewee at a mid-sized pharmaceutical manufacturer emphasized the importance of taking a nuanced view of the patient journey by comparing the different digital hub needs of a drug product used by elderly males on Medicare vs a therapeutic used by females in their 30s or 40s. The latter are “more attuned to their healthcare and probably would engage with some type of texting program toget their reminders to fill their prescriptions,” he shared.
Our research further delved into how hurdles to therapy adoption and persistence can evolve over the course of the patient’s journey and how manufacturers expect digital hub providers to respond with targeted solutions that align with, enhance, streamline the patient journey.
The Evolving Landscape of Digital Hubs assesses manufacturer and healthcare provider perspectives on the key services these stakeholders rely on from a digital hub, including electronic benefits verification, prior authorization, patient assistance, enrollment, and consent processes, along with co-pay support, call center support, case management, and data analytics. This comprehensive report provides an in-depth look at the findings, with data and analysis that can prove vital when you’re embarking on the critical decision to choose a digital hub provider.