For two days last month in Philadelphia, experts from pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and specialty pharmacists mingled in an open exchange of information and education at the 2nd Annual Summit on Specialty Distribution and Channel Optimization.
There was a lot of talk around the intricacies of open, limited, and closed networks — but since patient care is the center of everything we do at Curant Health, I was most interested in learning about how specialty pharmacies can position themselves in the market to serve their patients better. Specifically, I wanted to know what pharmaceutical manufacturers are seeking most when deciding which specialty pharmacies to include in their networks, and which of those factors trickle down to serve true benefits to patients.
I was pleased to discover much crossover in the key attributes these manufacturers are looking for and best practices for improved patient outcomes. It was a welcome case of what’s good for the patient is also good for the serving specialty pharmacy’s business AND the manufacturer.
In both the seminars that I attended and private conversations I had, these three metrics came up time and time again when discussing the attributes pharmaceutical manufacturers prize the most when evaluation specialty pharmacy partners.
Key Performance Indicators
Manufacturers emphasized the ability to evaluate specialty pharmacies on indicators that are easily measurable and have concrete data points. Patient adherence rates, time to fill, and access were cited as top KPIs. As the role of pharmacists continues to grow in overall healthcare delivery, it is becoming expected that they offer expanded services including programs that drive adherence rates and remove barriers to access. This is in addition to boosting efficiency in their traditional roles like filling prescriptions quickly, which continue to be looked upon favorably.
Expanded services that are proven to increase patient outcomes, like the direct patient outreach and adherence packaging offered by Curant Health, elevate a partner’s ability to meet these KPIs.
Enhancing the Patient Experience
There is still a large gap between the medication therapy management patients receive in clinical settings and the support they get after returning home. That gap lowers adherence rates, and pharmacists are natural defense systems to closing it because of the direct contact they have with patients. There is a wide array of enhancements to patient care pharmacists are leading to create better overall outcomes including prior authorization assistance, co-pay assistance (through grants and pharmaceutical sponsored programs), and adherence medication packaging.
At Curant, we found that patients on highly active antiretroviral therapies receiving enhanced pharmacy services increased adherence rates by a margin of 69% after six months.
Expertise in Specific Therapeutic Areas
Experience matters. Manufacturers are placing a greater importance on track records of success in the specific therapeutic areas that each therapy treats. For example, a specialty pharmacy that is a market leader in the HIV community will be looked upon favorably by manufacturers looking for partners to improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience. It makes sense because established relationships with clinical providers in specific therapeutic areas positively influence overall comfort levels when physicians consider which pharmacies they recommend to patients.
This focus on patient outcomes and additional services by specialty pharmacies mirrors the move Medicare is making toward value based care for reimbursements. As these forces grow in influencing the healthcare system, the beneficiaries will be patients, which is as it should be. For specialty pharmacies, elevating the outcomes and experiences of patients over all else is a winning strategy for developing the best partnerships with all stakeholders including pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Want to learn more about Curant Health? Let’s talk. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.