Since its inception nearly three decades ago, the specialty pharmacy industry has come a long way. One of the biggest testaments to the industry’s growth is how patient management programs and strategies have continued to evolve.
Specialty pharmacy grows increasingly patient-centric, focusing on personalized solutions to enforce the tenets of value-based care. Breakthroughs in science and technology provide deep, strategic insights into how patients behave, what they want in their care experience, and how providers and stakeholders can implement tools and resources to facilitate and improve the care process for all parties.
Harnessing Behavioral Science
In the earlier days of specialty pharmacy, patient management strategies were generally more focused on broad categorizations, such as the patient’s condition. As time passed and treatment continued to evolve, clinicians and caregivers began to focus on tending to the needs of individuals, rather than generalized groups.
Behavioral science gave valuable insights into types of patients, how they mentally and psychologically respond to their conditions and treatments, and therefore which management and communication strategies may help lead to the most positive outcomes.
Nurturing and Changing Patient Behaviors
By learning what makes patients “tick,” providers are better able to understand how a care plan can and should fit into their lifestyles. With this foundational knowledge, healthcare providers are able to cater to patients’ needs and wishes, while helping to change the behaviors of patients that may be at risk for poorer outcomes.
One of the biggest indicators of a behavioral science approach to specialty pharmacy can be seen in medication adherence efforts. Providers might ask: Why doesn’t this patient adhere to their care plan? What are the potential barriers to adherence they are experiencing? Are there side effects problems, self-injection issues, financial difficulties or cognitive issues impacting adherence? Can we address these barriers to adherence with targeted behavioral and/or educational interventions?
In recent decades, technology has shaped and strongly impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. This is no exception in the specialty pharmacy arena, where technology has revolutionized the daily systems and processes that enable the tremendous industry growth
Whereas the past was characterized by the use of Microsoft Outlook, Excel spreadsheets, and Access databases, today’s specialty pharmacy has access to sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology to automate and standardize care, and to centralize operational and clinical functions into one place. These technologies streamline operations, while minimizing the risk of human error that was infamously associated with manual data collection and management.
Specialty therapy management technology enables a number of features including:
- Automated care plans complete with clinical content based on best practice guidelines
- Integration with medication dispensing platforms
- Improved access to electronic health records (EHRs) and the patient data that resides there
- Access to health information exchange (HIE) applications to improve data flow between care providers
- Provider portals to reveal valuable insights into care challenges and opportunities, and improve provider-pharmacist collaboration
- Enhanced clinical support and decision-making tools that foster comprehensive, holistic care
- Aggregation of de-identified data across multiple pharmacies that provides real world evidence of outcomes and pharmacy performance
- Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities to ensure positive outcomes and experiences for patients, hospital systems, manufacturers, and payers
- Technology and the Patient Experience
In addition to the internal functions of specialty pharmacies and hospital systems offering specialty therapy, technology has also had a profound impact on the patient-facing side. Patients have unparalleled access to tools and applications that give them access to health and treatment education, enhanced communication with their providers, and empowerment to optimize their treatment regimens.
For example, new tools like VUCA Health’s medication videos transform traditional medication leaflets that are often forgotten by patients, replacing them with engaging, on-demand digital resources that help to better connect patients with their care plans and providers.
Transforming Patient Care and Outcomes
As science and technology continue to evolve and provide breakthrough insights, so too does specialty pharmacy. If you’re looking to improve direct patient management and outcomes – as well as automate and standardize care plans – learn more about TherigySTM, Therigy’s powerful specialty therapy management platform.