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Using Specialty Pharmacy Data to Enhance Medication Adherence Strategies

Patients aren’t shy about changing doctors. In a recent survey, 69 percent of Americans said they’d switch to a provider that offered better services, even if they’re satisfied with their current physician, writes Todd Shryock, Managing Editor at Medical Economics.

Major concerns for patients who participated in the poll include frustration while establishing care with a new provider, a desire for kindness from the provider and office staff, and generation gaps in the willingness to use technology to coordinate care during and after a provider transition.

Boosting Medication Adherence Strategies Through Provider Changes

Approximately 30 percent of patients in an Accenture study of 21,000 healthcare consumers actually changed to a new healthcare provider in 2021. Of this group, one in four (25 percent) switched because they were unhappy with their current provider, write Loren McCaghy and Sarah Sinha. Others switched because they moved for a new job, they preferred a new provider’s use of technology and communication, or other life circumstances had changed.

Changes in providers due to a job-related move often mean a change in payer as well, as new hires navigate their employer’s healthcare plan. This “double whammy” of provider and payer changes can further imperil a patient’s own medication adherence strategies.

Combined with a healthcare system that is already complex and often unpleasant to navigate, a provider change — with or without an associated payer change — imperils a rare disease patient’s ability to stay on their medication regimen, no matter how well treatment is working. In a 2023 Time article, health correspondent Jamie Ducharme follows several patients, including patients at high risk of certain cancers, who regularly put off appointments because the stress of adhering to their treatment regime is too high.

“Nonadherence is extremely costly for global medical systems because of unnecessary complications and expenses,” write Dezhi Wu and fellow researchers in a 2022 study of patient adherence and communication. Wu et al. note that digital tools like mobile patient education systems help providers stay in touch with patients and boost adherence. Similar digital tools can help specialty pharmacies improve patient adherence even when patients switch providers, payers, or both.

During a provider change, specialty pharmacies can provide an essential point of stability for patients. By leveraging specialty pharmacy data, pharmacists can boost a patient’s medication adherence strategies and help develop a more effective patient journey orchestration.

Patient with a prescription and a pharmacist explaining the medicine; medication adherence strategies concept

Using Specialty Pharmacy Data for Better Patient Journey Orchestration

Digital engagement plays a key role in patients’ willingness to stay with providers, according to McCaghy and Sinha at Accenture. It also plays an essential role in coordinating care and maintaining a patient’s medication adherence strategies during a provider transition.

Specialty pharmacies that use Hub tools are equipped to help orchestrate the patient journey through the travails of provider or payer switches. With Hub access, a specialty pharmacy can track not only a patient’s prescription-related needs, but also:

  • A patient’s interactions with providers.
  • Provider communications during the provider switch.
  • Payer changes and payer demands, such as pre-authorizations.
  • Distribution timing to ensure treatment is available in accordance with the patient’s prescribed regimen.

By including the patient in this process, specialty pharmacies serve as an ally during the transition process. They provide an essential source of stability to patients, ensuring that patients adhere to their treatment regimens even when they’re looking for or establishing care or coverage.

Access to medication regimen information provides benefits to patients, providers, payers and pharmacies. In a study of real-time adherence data, Sadaf Faisal and fellow researchers found that “stakeholders valued the availability of real-time medication data,” because that data allowed them to better coordinate care for improved adherence.

Medication adherence data doesn’t need to be collected in real time to offer these benefits to providers, payers, pharmacies and patients. Specialty pharmacy data can offer the clarity pharmacists need to improve patient communication and support medication adherence, even in times of transition.

Patient journey orchestration can be challenging — especially when patients are willing and ready to switch providers. Specialty pharmacy data and specialty pharmacy can provide essential guidance and support for medication adherence strategies that keep patients current on treatment while they build a relationship with a new provider.

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