Over the past decade, consumer expectations have shifted to require convenience and instantaneous solutions, a trend that has only accelerated in recent years due to the pandemic. From same-day delivery to live-stream workout classes, consumers are demanding products and services are delivered directly to them, whenever they want them. Being consumers themselves, patients who have grown accustomed to on-demand access in their daily lives are looking to healthcare stakeholders to proactively provide vital information and services at the right time, through the right channels — personalized to their conditions, treatments, journey, and behaviors.
Using pharmacy data to engage patients
In an often disconnected healthcare environment, proactively reaching patients at the right time via their preferred mode of communication can be challenging. However, there is one channel that is often left untapped: the pharmacy. Pharmacy data can help pinpoint where a patient is in their treatment journey, creating a clear picture of behaviors and opportunities. With each prescription – even those that are never picked up at all – there are numerous opportunities to engage with the patient. Whenever prescriptions are ready for pickup or refill, there are opportunities to nudge people with reminders, educational materials about their medication, and tools to better access their medication. Throughout their treatment journey, moments when the patient has a new treatment option, incorrect dosage, interacting medication, or an adherence challenge can also be identified through pharmacy data – and each is an opportunity to improve the regimen or deliver patient education.
Today, 50% of medications are not taken as directed, but significant improvements can be made by engaging with patients during these key moments. Outcomes, a Cardinal Health company, which has the largest nationwide pharmacy network and reaches over 40 million patients, offers a “phygital” (physical and digital) patient experience that combines pharmacy texting and one-on-one conversations between patients and pharmacists to drive meaningful results. In its 2021 patient engagement programs, adherence increased by 13-23%, 27% of non-adherent patients returned to therapy, and vaccine dose completion increased by 34%.
Empowering patients with control and transparency
Consumers are already accustomed to conducting a simple online search to get the best rates on hotels, flights, and auto insurance. Why not their healthcare, too? There have recently been major shifts in the healthcare industry toward more convenient care and treatment, including the increased accessibility of virtual care. For medication specifically, home delivery and price comparison tools are becoming more commonplace.
Though medication prices are becoming more transparent to consumers, there’s still a major gap to solve for. Thirty percent of medications for chronic conditions are never filled, and cost is a top reason why. Controlling personal healthcare spend is increasingly important as people attempt to balance financial health and skyrocketing inflation with resuming preventative care post-pandemic. Over the last year, inflation has increased average U.S. household spending by $433 per month
Already offering solutions for pharma, payers, and pharmacies downstream, Outcomes, has expanded its portfolio to add solutions that help pharma manufacturers tackle the issues of transparency while empowering patients with more control. In June 2022, Outcomes acquired ScalaMed, a platform that enables patients to send their prescriptions to any pharmacy through a digital prescription wallet. This technology transforms the experience around first-fill, by allowing patients to compare prices of their medication, both cash and after insurance, before even stepping foot in a pharmacy. By re-routing prescriptions directly to the patient, they can also conveniently fill through a pharmacy based on hours or location, allowing patients to send a much-needed refill to a 24/7 pharmacy if they forgot to fill their script during the day or to a pharmacy near their hotel while traveling.
The integration of this technology into the Outcomes platform creates a patient engagement engine that combines detailed, real-time pharmacy data with a gateway into patient access. For providers, this technology eliminates the administrative work of transferring prescriptions, saving the average clinician 40 hours per year. For payers and pharma manufacturers, the platform creates a new channel to deliver tailored messages to help a patient make the right medication-related decision and escalate complex problems to a pharmacist or provider when necessary.
With healthcare consumerism on the rise, putting patients at the center of their own experience helps decrease the complexity of care. By combining the value and accessibility of pharmacies with the scalability of consumer technology, Outcomes is working to simplify prescription management and offer patients greater control. Ultimately, this helps decrease preventable hospitalizations, reduce avoidable medical costs, and improve patient wellbeing.
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