Specialty Drugs Require Special Support for Patients
By Julie Fishman, RPh, MP
Specialty Pharmacy & Hub Services
When a patient receives a life-changing diagnosis such as cancer or ulcerative colitis they feel overwhelmed by numerous things. Will I be OK? What is the best therapy option? Will my insurance cover my medication? What is this ‘Specialty Pharmacy’?
Patients often see multiple healthcare providers, undergo numerous procedures, and their drug treatment regimen could be quite complex often involving multiple medications taken in an on/off cycle. When patients are prescribed medications, their prescriptions are typically sent to a specialty pharmacy which is an unfamiliar concept to most people. It’s a frustrating and stressful experience for patients who often have to place numerous calls in order to figure out where their prescriptions were sent and when they will receive the medication. By the time the medication arrives, patients are likely to have forgotten the instructions and counseling they received when they saw their medical provider or spoke to a pharmacist. In addition, patients often go from not taking any medications to having to take multiple drugs.
Since specialty pharmacies provide medications and services for patients with chronic and often complex disease states, there is a huge opportunity to leverage patient engagement platforms to provide continual support. For example, as specialty pharmacies assist patients getting on therapy through intensive coordination efforts, patients are often unaware of where they are in the process and ultimately left worrying and wondering about their therapy. Furthermore, specialty pharmacies need to reach patients in a timely manner to obtain information required to coordinate initiation of treatment as well as to provide clinical support and assessment.
Today we live in the world of technology and strive towards personalization in medicine. What’s needed to help patients with chronic and complex conditions is continual support and personalized, targeted interventions. Specialty pharmacies must invest in platforms that leverage technological advancements like artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver that support and provide connectivity to their patients while also allowing them to know the challenges their patients experience in real time ahead of speaking with them.
At Medisafe, we see the power of digitally engaging patients on complex regimens and supporting them in between the clinical check-ins or refills. Designing digital, personalized support must be relevant and timely to the patients so they can incorporate the complexities of medication management into their daily routines. Here are just a few patient testimonials:
This app has been so helpful to me, I recently was diagnosed with lung Cancer and so at a time when your world goes into a spin you often get confused.
I am 60 year old recent cancer survivor and often still have chemo brain. I need to space my meds out but would forget to take one then having to take some together. Or I couldn’t remember if I did take something. This app is the best. Thanks again, this made my life so much easier.
Such a great lifesaving app. Used all the way through my cancer treatment to store Medications, Doctors details, Appts. Track my health levels with the diary. Everything at a push of a button if needed for diagnostics for other meds teams. Couldn’t have done without it! Easy to use. Easy to update and managed to sync data when change phones.
Medisafe saved my life. I take 13 different medications at 5 times a day intervals. My Doctor is linked in with me and knows exactly how I’m doing even down to mood and pain level. It’s the next best thing since sliced bread.
My husband recently underwent surgery to remove a large tumor from his spine. [It] left him with significant disabilities and the amount of medications he is on is overwhelming. Medisafe has enabled us to manage his medication dosages and times without the stress, given me peace of mind while I’m back at work and helps him to be more independent. That alone is worth more stars than I could ever give.