Skip to main content

Patient support programmes

Driving competitive advantage and commercial success

Patient support programmes (PSPs) are increasingly important for pharmaceutical companies. The ability to wrap services around their leading-edge therapies, in order to deliver superior patient outcomes, drive differentiation and strengthen patient and healthcare professional (HCP) relationships, and will increasingly determine success in the future.
Looking for the latest Life Sciences insight on COVID-19?

While companies must continue to strive to lead on the science, future success will be significantly influenced by the services that companies provide alongside their therapies, to support outstanding patient outcomes. Sometimes, the driver is patient safety and pharmacovigilance, where potentially severe side effects mean that patients have to be carefully on-boarded and monitored; sometimes, the driver is better disease management, especially for chronic conditions; sometimes, the driver is improved treatment efficacy, for instance, in degenerative conditions, where programmes enable physicians to slow progression by earlier intervention.

From the pharmaceutical company’s perspective, PSPs help deliver a better overall patient outcome and, as the industry increasingly pivots to more outcomes-based reimbursement models, improving the actual patient outcome will be a critical success factor. A good patient support programme will be a factor in treatment approvals and market authorisations, and will increase patient enrolment. At the same time, anecdotal evidence also points to PSPs improving patient retention and reducing switching between therapies. Even single digit increases in market share will drive significant improvements in top and bottom line performance for the pharma company while, at the same time, reducing the overall cost of care to the ecosystem. This makes PSPs a clear win-win for everyone.

Improving, standardising, and extending patient support programmes must be a top priority for all pharma companies but, particularly, for those that operate in chronic disease areas, degenerative disease, and oncology. New digital technologies and solutions offer new opportunities to design and deliver these PSPs in novel, impactful and cost-effective ways.

There is a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to improve its offering for patient support programmes and drive a step-change in performance against all of the following value-drivers:

Increasing affordability pressures on healthcare systems mean that pharmaceutical companies have to demonstrate value propositions to payers that go beyond clinical efficacy. This is particularly true for chronic conditions and degenerative diseases, where there is a long-term burden of care, but also increasingly important for cancer therapies, which can require a complex care regime, and can also be very debilitating for patients. Here, quality of life and the patient experience are hugely important and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly being measured on these ‘quality of life’ dimensions. Patient outcomes can be improved through a number of means. Better education is an obvious avenue, both for healthcare professionals, and for patients and care-givers. Importantly, for the patients and care-givers, information needs to be pitched at the right level to ensure that it is properly understood. A well-designed PSP can address this challenge and new digital technologies open up new avenues to effect this.

There are now tens of thousands of mHealth apps on the Apple and Google stores and a study by Rock Health showed that almost $6B was invested in digital health in 2017, with 2018 showing a continued momentum ($1.6B in Q1). Disease management and consumer health information continue to be major focus areas for investors. There is increasing evidence of demand for digital patient services, with 48% of adults using or interested in using pharma digital assets and 68% of physicians more likely to prescribe a product with good patient support and services. Pharmaceutical companies understand this trend and most, if not all, have launched various digital engagement programmes in recent years. These trends, allied with digital technologies and better access to patient data offer pharmaceutical companies an opportunity to design bespoke, tailored solutions to meet the needs of the different patient groups in a targeted, focused, value-additive manner. We know that online disease management services can improve chronic disease management by up to 10%. We know that patients value simplicity and customisability so that they are better able to take ownership of their own wellness and participate in their own car.

The current approach to patient support programmes at many pharmaceutical companies is to design and deliver these in a bespoke fashion, market-by-market. Because programmes are owned and operated independently, there is little opportunity to compare programmes, analyse effectiveness, and understand how to optimise cost and maximise value. Today, the cost scales almost linearly with each additional PSP; a consistent platform, scaled and leveraged across affiliates, would drive down the incremental cost for each new programme by sharing and re-using components. Moreover, it would collect consistent performance data from all programmes to enable pharma companies to optimise design and delivery of its PSPs. Deploying a platform solution offers additional benefits in terms of standardisation of core functionality, as this provides the common core, around which you can tailor and deploy patient engagement applications. Even where local market conditions or specific regulations constrain the solution, the common core ensures that you maintain interoperability and standardised data taxonomies and ontologies. The component level design decisions also mean that the package core is easily extensible to accelerate the time to value for enterprise Patient Engagement solutions (i.e. “one platform, many markets”).

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey