In this two-part episode of the Healthcare Strategies podcast, Lisa Mymo, vice president of pharma and financial services at AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, and Kathy Kokoski, RPh, CSP and director of pharma operations at AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, explain how their specialty pharmacy uses digital tools to improve both patient outcomes and partnerships between pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Specialty pharmacies use personalized care strategies to improve patient outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and enhance quality of life for patients with rare or chronic conditions. Patients can opt in to receive texts and emails as they continue along the patient journey, reminding them to refill or take their medication.
Digital communication gives physicians, pharmacists and manufacturers more data to better serve the patient. AllianceRx Walgreens found that most patients choose to opt in to digital communication, and for the majority that do, orders have a faster turnaround time.
"The ultimate goal for pharma, as well as the specialty pharmacy, is to keep the patient on the therapy that has been prescribed to them by their physician," Kokoski said.
It also strengthens the relationship between pharmacy and manufacturer.
"The nice thing about being the specialty pharmacy is we have dispense data. We'll take a look at that and analyze: How are the patients doing? If we notice at a certain point in the patient's journey that the patients drop off between, I'll say, dispense three and dispense four, we're able to partner with our manufacturer and say, 'Hey, here's what we're noticing, and we think that the patient could benefit from an additional touchpoint.'" Kokoski added.
More data enables healthcare providers to better identify points in the patient journey when the patient needs extra support. If there's an adherence concern or a reported side effect, it can trigger the need to speak with a pharmacist. Pharmacies in partnership with manufacturers can also reinforce medication information that was already provided to the patient by the pharmacist and the physician but may have been difficult to absorb. As patients progress to self-manage chronic conditions, disease-specific programs are tailored to support and empower them to self-manage.
The episodes also touch on how regulation can act as a barrier between patient care and the pharmaceutical industry. Manufacturers need data but should only have access to data that patients consent to sharing with the manufacturer.
"[HIPAA] drives how the specialty pharmacy can be compensated for services that we might be providing on behalf of the pharmaceutical manufacturer. We've got to disclose to that patient that we're being paid, whether it's to provide data, whether it's to provide additional clinical support," Mymo said.