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Close-up of pills on paper read-out; Specialty Pharma KPIs concept

Specialty Pharma KPIs: What Are You Tracking? What Should You Be Tracking?

Specialty pharmacies play an essential role in connecting patients to necessary treatment. In so doing, specialty pharma also plays a key role in helping to control costs.

“With patient adherence at less than 50% for multiple chronic conditions and the estimated lost value totaling more than $300B, the importance of helping patients stick to their medicines through patient services is well worth the investment,” writes Whitney Baldwin, principal director of the Patient Experience Center of Excellence at Accenture.

Yet merely offering patient services through specialty pharma is not enough. Specialty pharmacies must also track the data required to understand the impact of their patient services efforts. Choosing the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to track allows specialty pharma to do just that.

Which KPIs to Track (and Which Ones Matter)

KPIs quantify specific performance measures related to an organization’s goals. They communicate concise information about how well the team or organization is meeting its stated objectives.

Key performance indicators can distill information to its basics — or they can bury a team in seemingly meaningless numbers. Consequently, it’s important to pare down KPIs to what matters most for the organization or team using them. A few well-chosen KPIs can do more to illuminate a team’s progress and challenges than several hastily selected indicators.

For example, In its 2019 Specialty Rx Key Performance Indicators paper, EnvisionPharmacies reported the results of tracking five KPIs:

  • Adherence tracked the number of days patients stayed on a treatment regimen as a proportion of total days covered. Included in this KPI were measurements of patient non-response to therapy, symptom management, and doses withheld due to other medical needs like illness or surgery.
  • 90-day Discontinuation Rates tracked early patient dropouts from treatment. Here, researchers sorted between patients who discontinued due to treatment issues like unmanageable side effects and patients who discontinued for preventable reasons.
  • Biologic Switch Rate sought to understand how well patients switch to new treatments within the patient population. Lower rates indicate a patient population with stable, well-controlled conditions.
  • Average Time Spent With Patient Prior to Therapy examined how much time specialty pharma teams spent educating patients on how to administer their treatments, what to expect from treatment, and how to track symptoms.
  • Average Savings for Top 5 Interventions measured the cost reduction of educating patients, promptly managing side effects, and setting reachable treatment goals.

These KPI outcomes offer a clear example of how to track data that speaks directly to a treatment team’s overall goals. In specialty pharma, maximizing patient access and adherence to appropriate treatments is a key goal. So is managing the costs associated with rare disease treatment. Envision’s chosen KPIs all directly address one or both of these core goals.

In addition to identifying KPIs, having the right tools in place alongside the right partners and team is crucial. With these, the KPIs can be measured and, when necessary, interventions implemented to make those KPIs successful.

Pharmacist holding bottle of pills, inputting information into laptop; Specialty Pharma KPIs concept

Choosing the Right Digital Tools for Specialty Pharma KPI Tracking

Patient engagement and patient-centered care are on the rise for several reasons. These approaches increase patient adherence to treatment regimens. They also give patients a sense of control and agency that better engages patients in their own healthcare, resulting in better outcomes.

Yet no single set of standards for measuring patient engagement or the efforts of patient services teams currently exists, write Karen Robinson and Dr. Oleks Gorbenko of LiNK Health Group and Ipsen, respectively. Instead, specialty pharma teams must find the KPIs that address their work and then translate this information into insights that patients, providers and payers can use as well.

Choosing the right digital tools to make these translations can pay off. Increasing demands from regulators and payers, decreasing access to prescribing providers, and a sea of information that threatens to engulf patients all call for improvements in tracking and communicating patient services information, write Vanessa Burrow and Stephanie Hall at Uptake Strategies.

For specialty pharma, the challenge isn’t access to data. Rather, the challenge is how to manage data, glean meaningful insights, and communicate that information to patients, providers, payers and regulators. To do that, it’s necessary to have the right partner and digital tools that can provide meaningful insights and the data needed to measure the KPIs.

This communication, in turn, must aim toward meeting specialty pharmacies’ ultimate goal: “to keep the patient on the therapy that has been prescribed to them by their physician,” says Kathy Kokoski, director of pharma program operations at AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy.

Tracking a few well-chosen KPIs can provide unparalleled insight into a specialty pharma team’s ability to maximize patient access to necessary treatment while controlling unnecessary or preventable costs.

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