Patient Support Programs: Closing the Awareness Gap
Helpful programs and services offered by pharmaceutical companies to patients run the gamut and play an important role in having patients start and stay on therapy. Most have the goal of improving access to the prescribed medications. It makes sense that these programs benefit all parties concerned: the patient, the prescriber, and the company itself.
What services are we talking about, exactly?
These services are generally product-specific and include cost-support programs that can help the patient afford their prescription. Doctors are well aware that out-of-pocket costs can make a big difference to the patient. They’re often eager to get help with researching a patient’s insurance coverage. And they welcome trial offers that let their patient receive free medication until their insurance kicks in.
Equally important is coordinating timely delivery of the medication, which is often coming from a specialty pharmacy. Triaging the prescription to the chosen pharmacy and helping coordinate shipment to the patient or practice is another service that pharma companies may provide.
But there’s more!
For certain indications, treatment support services are offered by the pharma company, or at least coordinated by them. These can include such patient-focused resources as registered nurses who are available to provide counseling by phone, or call-center hubs that can arrange for transportation to and from the patient’s treatment center.
Can’t use ‘em if you don’t know about ‘em
The job of making healthcare providers aware of these patient support programs and services usually falls to the sales representative. Once the prescriber has made the clinical decision, the sales rep can go in, armed with iPad presentations and leave-behind brochures.
HCPs also like to get the scoop about patient services from their colleagues, at conferences, by email, or on pharma websites. But how good a job are all these channels doing?
Room for improvement. Lots.
According to a recent survey, the number of HCPs who said they are “very aware” of patient support programs varied according to therapeutic area. The percentages ranged from 31-52%, with brain specialists being the least aware and cancer specialists being the most. Heart, immunology, and other areas fell somewhere in between. Certainly plenty of room for improvement.
It seems the biggest barrier HCPs face in recommending patient programs is not having a good understanding of what’s available. A whopping 42% stated just that.
Prepping the rep
At Xavier Creative House, we know that excellent sales training leads to better results. If the sales reps and call centers are fully knowledgeable about the programs being offered, they can be confident imparting the details to their customers. (Did we mention there are lots of details and legalities that often go along with these patient support services?)
Once the sales force is trained, giving them effective communication tools is essential. Xavier Creative has the expertise to maximize the clarity and impact of these tools, be they digital or print. Which can make all the difference for the practice. And the patient.
Keywords: patient support programs, patient-focused, sales training, effective communication, HCP awareness, patient support services, programs offered by pharma companies