If you’re a specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer preparing to launch a new therapy, establishing a patient program that supports the patient’s journey from end to end—from therapy initiation to positive health outcomes—is critical.  So much so, it may be the difference between success and failure for the program, and for the therapeutic benefit of your brand. 

Digital hubs are now at the center of those programs, providing vital infrastructure that helps patients navigate the complexities of today’s healthcare system, streamline processes, facilitate therapy access, and improve persistence. But when it comes to selecting a digital hub provider, which services are actually essential to a successful program? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think- but what in this industry is? CareMetx set out to get you some clarity. 

Through a comprehensive study involving individual interviews and surveys with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers, we uncovered insights you’ll find helpful in making the right digital hub choice for your brand. We learned how pharmaceutical manufacturers perceive hub service offerings today, and how their views are expected to shift over time with changing needs.  

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Defining Core vs Enhanced Hub Services  

Generally, manufacturers view the highest priority services as core offerings they expect any hub to provide, whereas services considered “nice-to-have" are defined as enhanced offerings. Not surprisingly, ensuring patients have ready access to necessary therapeutics are among those perceived as core offerings, according to our research. These services include benefits verification, prior authorization (PA), and patient assistance programs (PAPs) like co-pay programs.   

Enhanced services include those offerings that help facilitate the patient’s journey more holistically. For example, collection and aggregation of the data available through a hub is likely to be viewed as an enhanced offering today, as are services that ultimately lead to improved therapy adherence and persistence, such as refill reminders and patient education. Manufacturers operating in more complex therapeutic areas, such as oncology, are more likely to leverage these services that increase the chance for success with the therapy.  

Major Shifts in the Wings  

As specialty therapies grow more complex and more complicated to administer—as in the case of cell and gene therapies for immuno-oncology, for example—manufacturers’ needs will evolve, and their “nice to haves” will become “need to haves” to keep pace. As our comprehensive study uncovered, this evolution in therapy complexity is naturally leading manufacturers to view more services as critical to their base drug program.  More sophisticated brands have this approach already. 

The research looked at 11 hub service options and assessed how manufacturers perceive them today vs how they expect to view them five years from now, breaking down the findings by manufacturers of oncology vs non-oncology therapeutics. While the report provides a complete table of findings on all 11 key services, following are a few especially salient highlights:  

  1. Electronic Prior Authorizations- While today many manufacturers already consider electronic PAs a core service, there are a number who responded that they consider this an “enhanced” service. However, five years from now, 85% of non-oncology manufacturers surveyed revealed they expect this to become a core hub service by that time.  
  2. Data collection and aggregation is currently viewed as a core service by less than half of the oncology manufacturers we surveyed. But when those manufacturers look out to a five-year horizon, eight of 10 see these capabilities as essential to a core hub program.  While most digital hub programs can yield significant stores of useful data, manufacturers increasingly seek better data integration and analytics from their hub providers to make that data usable and meaningful. 
  3. Refill Reminders- While only about a third of oncology manufacturers perceived refill reminders as a core service five years ago, today that figure stands at 60%--and it’s expected to continue rising over time. 
  4. Support for denials and appeals is set to become a more critical component of a core digital hub program. While a small number of manufacturers consider it a core service today, 70% expect to view it as a core hub capability five years from now.  

With a strong commitment to helping pharmaceutical manufacturers improve therapy adherence, persistence, and health outcomes, CareMetx makes it a priority to deliver the hub services vital to the objectives of today, and into the future. This recent study is just one example of our efforts to stay current on the evolving digital hub services needs of specialty manufacturers, and to ensure we’re keeping pace to meet them.    

The CareMetx report on The Evolving Landscape of Digital Hubs provides an in-depth look on the current and emerging trends that will impact how the smartest manufacturers select hubs, how they operate, and how they help manufacturers and providers best serve patients. Download the report before you select a hub for your brand.    

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