Creating Successful Patient Support in the Digital Age
Patient support in the digital age is more than just generic information on a web page. Today’s patients deserve support and guidance that fits their lives, meets their individual needs, and is accessible in formats that are best suited to them. To create successful patient engagement, digital platforms should view the journey from start to finish, the obstacles that patients may face along the way, and how to keep patients engaged.
Diagnosis is a journey
From a physician’s perspective, diagnosis and a treatment plan are akin to serving as a project manager. They have identified the task and created an action plan to work toward the anticipated results. As a patient, however, a diagnosis is a journey. Patients living with a serious health condition means it impacts them 24/7, and those closest to them. And a diagnosis creates additional questions, worries, fears, and uncertainty.
Patients often experience a trough of disillusionment after a diagnosis, where they move through feelings of loneliness, despair, and the reality of living with a condition. These feelings and the reality of the diagnosis can become overwhelming, leading patients into a trough of disillusionment due to facing the reality of the situation. Overtime, patients process these feelings and move toward enlightenment and empowerment, but these progressions happen over time. For some patients it can be several days, for others it can happen over several weeks. A key element in successful support is to recognize this journey and understand how best to offer encouragement and reinforcement during each of these interactions.
Challenges happen at varying times
Beyond the diagnosis, the patient journey can be fraught with challenges that can be upsetting and exasperating. From uncertainty of medication use to financial issues to titration schedules, the patient journey can face many ups and downs. In fact, on average there are more than 190 different decision points a patient encounters throughout their journey. And while no two patients are alike, no two patients will experience the same exact challenges, nor will they happen at the exact same time.
Proper patient support begins by recognizing these elements, and then ensuring available guidance to help patients navigate through these issues. This includes providing resources to payers and prescription medication support, pharma directions on proper dosing, and medication education throughout the course of treatment. By ensuring patients are remaining engaged and informed on their treatment can take a big step forward to reducing challenges and ensuring adherence.
Support comes in many forms
As mentioned, no two patients are alike, and the form of support should vary to meet the individual needs of each patient. What works for one patient may fall flat for another, so personalization is essential to navigating through a complex treatment journey. Personalizing engagement, messages, and interactions help to create a sense of trust and drive patient action.
By varying the type of support and including customization, programs can easily adapt support to be personalized and most beneficial to drive engagement and utilization of medication therapy. Support can come in the form of video messages, text messages from programs, nurse or program coordinator phone calls, push notifications, platform gamification, and ongoing treatment education. These types of support messages should also be delivered in a timely manner to reenforce positive behaviors without creating fatigue or becoming a nuisance.
Modern support unites all care partners
Patient support is more than just sending reminders or providing a dosing schedule. Today’s patients want to have all their care partners engaged and connected to help create an interconnected set of support to accompany their journey. Medisafe takes a holistic approach to patient support by connecting all aspects of ecosystem, so pharma, provider, payer, and support services collaborate to support patient lives. This means that providers can view how patients are progressing on their medications, look for moments of drop-off and even reconnect to patients who may face mediation challenges.
Simultaneously, nurse managers can engage through video calls and digital messages to keep patients engaged, and pharma can proscribe educational tools on when and how to take medication. We’ve even enabled friends and family to help join the patient journey through digital support and encouragement to drive utilization. By creating a connected web of support, enhanced with personalized guidance and timely intervals of reinforcement, patients no longer feel isolated in their treatment journey and have the right tools to manage any challenges.
For every patient, facing a serious health condition and managing medication therapy is a daunting and scary outlook. But with advanced support and digital engagement, that walk doesn’t have to feel isolating, unsettling, or uncertain. And with modern tools that recognize the individuality of each patient, the patient journey is centered around each person and what their unique needs may be. We can’t change the diagnosis, but through tech advancements and holistic outreach, we can make the journey an easier walk toward a brighter horizon.