Launching a new pharma brand can be incredibly challenging. Even with a compelling efficacy story, it can be difficult to change HCPs' prescribing behaviors. This is especially true in a competitive category where an established medication is providing decent results. HCPs may also be less willing to change medications if they feel it will require more of their time for patient education and support. And then there is the issue of affordable patient access during the window of time after availability and before formularies are updated. With all of these challenges, it's no wonder many product launches have a slow build at first.
When it comes to making outbound calls to patients in the healthcare space, just getting people to answer the phone can be a big challenge. Once you do reach them though, how can you make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure that your call is a success? Whatever the objective for your outreach, patients will often greet you with a healthy dose of skepticism. Let's face it, the number of phone scams out there and the publicity they generate has increased tremendously.
Here are a few important things to do to help reassure patients that speaking with you is not putting them at risk;
Many pharma brands, especially newer or specialty drugs come with what's known in the industry as the Patient Starter Kit. It contains a wealth of information including basic information about the medication, details about expected side effects, what to expect when on the medication, answers to frequently asked questions, information about patient support and co-pay programs, and the required ISI and other regulatory information.
Pharma invests heavily in "patient engagement" programs. However, some of the biggest challenges are (a) identifying patients that are on a specific drug therapy, and (b) very low patient sign-up rates.
How are patients identified and then made aware of these support programs? Usually a patient is given a starter kit at the HCP office with printed materials containing educational information about the drug, directions on how to contact a patient support line, and it may drive patients to a pharma brand's website for additional information. The burden is primarily on the patient and/or their caregivers to take action. To our knowledge, historically the patient sign-up rates for patient support programs are around 1%.
We at CareSpeak like to say that the texting app icon on a mobile phone is some of the most valuable real-estate. Why?
We often get unwanted robo-calls, and junk e-mail, but we never get unwanted text messages. That's because the industry has done a good job in protecting us mostly through TCPA regulations. That means that if I let you into my texting channel, you are important, and I will pay attention to you.
Pharmaceutical companies are starting to embrace text messaging as a key tool to provide patients and their caregivers with much needed support. Although texting is not a new technology, using it as an interactive communications / CRM tool for patient management and support is a new practice. When planning and executing a messaging program there are many issues and challenges that need to be addressed. What follows are the key things to think about as you consider designing a patient touch program via text messaging.
The healthcare industry has been marketing directly to patients for decades, however traditionally patients have always been “talked to”, meaning the communication is being pushed on to them, and they don’t necessarily have any control over what information they are getting and when. Interactive text messaging gives the patient the ability to take control of that experience by deciding how and when they want to received information and/or support services.
In 2016, CareSpeak partnered with Molina Healthcare to pilot a new intervention utilizing our text messaging reminder programs in conjunction with Medication Therapy Management (MTM). The pilot was designed to increase medication adherence, and reduce healthcare utilization for a disabled Medicaid population with high disease burden.
At this year's Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy annual meeting, Jennifer Strohecker, Senior Director of Pharmacy at Molina Healthcare presented the impressive results of the program - A $140 per patient per month reduction in healthcare utilization after four months on the intervention. The pilot adds further validation to our prior clinical studies showing that the use of these interventions leads to increased adherence and better patient outcomes.
An abstract of the poster presentation, which earned a gold medal at the annual meeting was also published in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy (See page S113). The poster presentation is displayed below.
A new study has shown that CareSpeak Communication's text-message reminders help pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) take their medication on time and as prescribed. The results, published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, contribute to the mounting evidence that 2-way communication works. This intuitive approach, which has been a part of CareSpeak Communications from its onset, continues to show positive outcomes. The IBD patient population is yet another group that can derive benefit from these text-messaging services.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the CareSpeak Mobile Health Manager, in conjunction with other motivational technologies, was used by researchers at Wayne State University to pilot a new technology driven intervention promoting adherence to asthma controller medication. With a 50% reduction in self-reported asthma symptoms in the intervention group, the pilot showed that the use of these technologies can lead to better management of the condition. A larger study is planned to further validate the findings.
Type 2 diabetes can be a difficult condition for patients and caregivers to manage. CareSpeak text messaging quizzes are a simple and effective way for patients to receive educational material and health care providers to identify knowledge gaps, thus reducing barriers to type 2 diabetes therapy.
As we have discussed in this blog before, text-message based medication reminders are becoming more widely used, and in fact may be a better alternative than apps for medication adherence and persistence programs. We are always looking to validate this thinking through real world use of our platform with real patients. The CareSpeak platform has been used in many clinical studies showing the value of medication reminders, but a recent commercial project with a specialty pharmacy involving Inflammatory Disease patients is a very good demonstration of the power of our mobile Health manager™ platform.
Do you know anyone who doesn't have a mobile phone? I don't!
Based on the latest report from Pew Research 92% of US Adults have a cellphone, 68% of Americans have smartphones, and 45% have tablets. So you might think that to use your cell phone to help you manage your health, you would have to use an App. Well do you?
mHealth (mobile health) has exploded in the past few years, and as a result there are tens of thousands of health related apps in the Apple Store and Google play. BUT….. are Apps really the only solution? How about texting (SMS)? You might be surprised to learn that it may be the best method to use to execute mHealth programs.
According to a 2015 study conducted by Clemson University and others with mental health patients, texting was the most popular feature used while downloading Apps was the least popular.
After a long period of reluctance, pharmaceutical companies are starting to consider text messaging as a key tool to provide patients and their caregivers with much needed support. Although pharma is over the initial resistance to using sms (short message services), which was largely driven by concerns from legal and regulatory departments, there are still many planning issues decision makers face when deciding to implement these programs. What follows are the key things to think about as you consider designing a patient touch program via text messaging.