Behavioral conversations are designed to “meet the patient where they are,” but this also can refer to the channels through which patients can be coached. The same patients can be touched across multiple channels to enhance the overall patient experience and outcomes. Paramount to building a consistent, impactful support program is to place the patient needs in the center, then build an integrated experience across channels, internal stakeholders, and budgets. Channels where pharma brands may reach patients through coaching include:
1. Phone Coaching: Research shows that phone coaching for people with chronic conditions can improve health behavior, self-efficacy, and health status. Planned phone coaching sessions appear to be most effective for improving self-management skills in people from vulnerable groups. Phone coaching services have the advantage of regular contact – helping people develop their skills over time – and the tailored conversations allow the coach to support the patient’s individual needs. Using dynamic, two-way conversations, coaches can identify adherence barriers and provide targeted messaging to help overcome those barriers, connecting with patients using proven health behavior change tools and techniques. Recognizing that adherence barriers change over time, as well as patients’ information and education needs, brands can integrate out-bound support and multi-channel communications to maintain personalized support for patients throughout their treatment journey.
2. Hub Support: Delivering a consistent experience through all patient support programs, from therapy initiation and throughout the patient’s journey, is increasingly important. Many brands have different decision makers leading these initiatives, resulting in a lack of integration between various hub services, patient support programs, and co-pay card vendors. This lack of integration leads to a disjointed patient experience and a missed opportunity to maximize patient impact. Integrating access with adherence is crucial to a patient’s success – and coordinating that support, data integration, and a seamless patient experience, increases patient success.
3. Specialty Pharmacy: With the dosage complexity and costs associated with specialty medications, pharmacies offer varying levels of patient support. When building a comprehensive patient support program, it is critical for brands to understand how the pharmacies’ approach to patient support compliments its distribution model and patient experience goals. For example, Biologics, one of the leading specialty pharmacies in the country, provides patient support through oncology nurses, who are experts in setting appropriate expectations, providing empathy, identifying psychological challenges, and linking the patient to brand approved resources. The use of behavioral coaching is growing significantly within oncology to support patients moving from an end of life diagnosis to living with a chronic disease. The unique characteristics of oncology patients present complex challenges that impact the best
Improving medication adherence
To effectively combat non-adherence, industry must explore patient-centric approaches that increase adherence rates and improve patients’ quality of life. This requires a shift from short-term initiatives to longer-term strategies, recognizing that behavior change takes time.
Behavioral coaching conversations that leverage powerful tools, such as active listening, open ended questions, and reflective response have consistently increased adherence. These conversations allow patients to dig deeper into their own personal barriers, to help coaches and clinicians set appropriate product expectations, leverage available resources, and develop a plan of action to prevent non-adherence. Ultimately, the strategic balance between patients’ needs and brand goals results in a scalable adherence solution that builds patient engagement, giving brands the ability to optimize patient spend and identify communication strategies most likely to meet the needs of targeted patients.