Using the right key to engage patients
In a presentation titled “Specialty Pharmacy: High Tech Interventions with a Human Touch,” David Skomo, RPh, Senior Vice President and Director of Pharmacy Operations, and Nick Page, Pharm.D., Director of Pharmacy, explained how approaches that take into account patient preferences can lead to better care and a downward trend in costs.
“We have integrated high-tech interventions into our model of patient care,” Skomo said. “Providing a variety of options for patients and the way they engage with us empowers patients to take charge of their health care. Perhaps more importantly, it encourages patients to associate more closely with the healthcare provider’s team. “
Technology that supports two-way information flow can provide a more holistic view of patient health and behavior patterns. But channels need to be personalized and provide patient support to increase uptake and satisfaction, the presenters said.
WellDyne has a model of care that provides patients with a wide variety of options and communication channels to engage with the organization, including self-service options over the phone as well as a healthcare portal, said Skomo.
Skomo discussed Welldyne’s efforts to tailor his messages to patients grouped by “psychographic segmentation” and motivate them accordingly. The company has grouped the patients into five groups: direction-takers, balance seekers, priority jugglers, self-achievers, and willful endurance. Skomo stressed the importance of “marrying” the communication channel with these patient tendencies to motivate people to stay on.
“We have taken the technology to the next level and introduced digital capabilities through text messaging,” he said. “We can send a request to patients via text message asking them to take action, such as filling a prescription. By deploying this technology, along with additional communication channels, we provide patient comfort. “
Page reviewed some of the global consequences of not joining, which he says include 125,000 deaths per year and $ 600 billion in costs. Page said WellDyne’s efforts to more closely monitor patients and meet their needs mean the company has been successful in reducing specialty drug cost increases to 5% -6%, lower than industry increases in 10% -20%.
WellDyne’s “push technology” has been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, as patients use drive and mail order services more often, Page added. “Many pharmacies are reducing their staff, which makes it very difficult for the consumer to be able to access a pharmacist to ask questions,” he said. “Patients may not feel comfortable asking a pharmacist a question with a lot of other people around.”
WellDyne clinicians are using digital tools to send patient assessment questionnaires, Skomo said. “We find that patients are much more likely to provide responses to these types of assessments,” he said. “We don’t call them. Patients can use their smartphones to provide these answers very easily when and where it is most convenient for them. “
Patients, Skomo said, engage with the organization more frequently because of digital services. “It allows us to gain much more valuable information and paint a more solid picture of care for this particular patient. “
Patient adherence has increased since WellDyne started using digital technology; in fact, according to Skomo, treatment adherence rates have increased by 36%.
The technology also saves money for both the consumer and the plan. “Some of our outreach messages relate to educating members about their health, their benefits and lower cost options,” Page said. “We are able to provide information to the consumer on the options available to them. But it’s not just about selecting products; it is also about educating patients or reminding them that they have a benefit by correspondence.
Part of the communications includes follow-up 14 days after a patient begins new therapy to inform that patient of possible side effects. This, Page said, helps with treatment adherence.
WellDyne also provides education related to a patient’s illness or condition through digital channels.
“During Diabetes Awareness Month, for example, we will be running a number of campaigns and communications to educate potential undiagnosed diabetics about the risk and provide short online screening tools to help them find out if they might be at risk. risk, ”Page said.
Consumers, Skomo said, are hungry for information. “Push technology tends to be read almost immediately,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot better engagement with this than we typically do with emails or print media sent home. “
But communication with patients is not universal. “We make patient engagement easy and convenient, but the context of the message, as well as a patient’s motivation to take action, is very important,” Page said.
Skomo noted that many specialty patients don’t want payers and PBMs to contact them so often and just want to be left alone. “If we make it easy for patients, they don’t feel like we’re bothering them.