“Patient-centric” is a term that is so often brought up in our industry and it truly is the core of why we do what we do. As important as the optimization and evolution of patient services is, sometimes we may lose sight of what patients truly want and need to improve their lives. As new technologies arise, economic conditions change, and manufacturer goals evolve, it’s essential to take the time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of your program from a patient’s perspective. Are your access services meeting the timelines your patient population requires? Are your technology solutions balanced by personal connection and compassion to holistically support your patients?
Last year, I experienced a tough personal journey when my dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the lung, liver, and brain. After diagnosis, we saw numerous specialists, care coordinators, and palliative care physicians. My father received constant treatment but, unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of healthcare professionals who took the time to truly understand our needs during a time of such rapid and difficult change. Having served in the specialty pharmacy and patient support services space for 18 years, I had a general understanding of how we should prepare and what questions to ask. Yet while these individuals were doing everything possible to physically care for my dad, they didn’t account for the emotional needs that were involved.
This experience has prompted me to look at operations for patient support programs differently and ask myself some tough questions. Have I really placed the patient at the center of our business decisions? Have I taken the time to listen to their feedback? Am I driving my team to treat each call as an opportunity to make a supportive connection within our boundaries?
There are several ways that we can formalize our intent to ensure that we are not losing the patient’s voice as we continue to build and evolve support programs:
1) Patient surveys: encourage patients to give feedback so that we can develop services and support that are meaningful and maximize patient efficacy, safety, and adherence.
2) Encourage stakeholders to conduct patient ad boards. Patient ad boards are a great way to create an open environment that helps patients feel valued and empowered to make a difference in their disease state.
3) Place analytics at the core of your business decisions. It’s important to have robust analytics around performance, prescriber engagement, patient engagement, and adherence to understand whether we are driving in the right direction.
4) Ensure that your teams are making every interaction count. It’s important to continue to train and drive your teams with the innovative technology available. Whether it’s text, email, web chat, or the telephone, ensure that your teams are placing the patient and/or caregiver in the center of that engagement.
UBC’s Patient Access Services prides itself on putting Patients First, emphasizing the design of support services to what best fits the patient type and their specific therapy. To learn more about how we achieve outstanding access and adherence results, get in touch with us here.
About the Author
Jennifer Lim is the Director of Patient Access Implementation & Project Management at UBC. In her over 18 years of experience in the specialty pharmacy and patient services industry, she has focused on the patient experience. As a Lean Six Sigma trained professional, Jennifer has utilized this in her role overseeing all operational aspects of patient support at UBC to ensure that programs and staff are meeting patient needs in the deployment of these programs.