Is an off-the-shelf solution the right approach for patient support?

Alan Emmins & Kristian Holden
November 2019

All too often we see bloated patient support toolboxes for completely different therapies that look identical. Maybe this is driven by a few agencies offering pharmaceutical companies off-the-shelf patient support solutions. They claim to drive behavioural change through complex algorithms and individualised patient support – however, “individualised” normally means simply putting patients into one of three behavioural categories. Furthermore, the toolboxes always have the same elements: a patient diary, symptom tracker, visual reminders, magazine series, SMS reminders, an online platform, a consultation guide, the list goes on.

So, why is patient support so important?

  • Non-adherence causes 30 to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year in the USA.

  • 20 to 30 percent of new prescriptions are never filled at the pharmacy.

  • Medication is not taken as prescribed 50% of the time.

  • For patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases, the majority take less medication than prescribed or stop the medication altogether after just 6 months.1

  • Pharmaceutical companies may lose up to $637 billion in revenue each year to due non-adherence to medication for chronic illnesses.2

There is of course no magic bullet to solve these problems. Each individual disease and therapy carry a completely different set of challenges. So why are we choosing to go with off-the-shelf patient support programmes?

Here are a few principles that we in &Robin passionately believe in:
  • Market research with end-users (patients and healthcare professionals) is vital for insights into both the patient journey and current support tools.

  • Detailed patient journey mapping, and validation of this patient journey, is fundamental.

  • Service design with the patient journey at the core is effective for discovering tools that will drive behavioural change.

  • Before investing significantly in new tools – prioritise, prototype and test with end-users.

  • You will achieve far greater value with one or two really well tested and developed tools rather than creating a standard bloated toolbox.

If you need help with any of these steps, please get in touch. The &Robin team have many years of healthcare experience spanning different therapy areas and would love to have a chat.