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If you are not educating patients about the how, when and why of taking their medications, chances are that your brands will not succeed and patients will continue to suffer. So what can you do?

We all know the issues with patient adherence to medications. Healthcare system costs skyrocket, and brands fall flat of projections. Non-adherence is costing the U.S. upwards of $290 billion or 13% of total healthcare costs each year.1  

There are many programs in the industry offered to provide patient support, particularly in the specialty therapeutic areas requiring injectables. We have found the most effective approach is to offer an education and support program that combines an inbound contact center team with Clinical Educators who go on-site to the patient and physician offices.

Essentially it is a full loop. The patient is provided a call in number from their physician to reach the contact center. There, they can be enrolled in a support program that can be staged at the patient’s pace with an initial “getting to know you” call. Subsequent follow-up calls can be scheduled to assess needs and address the patient’s concerns with the medication. This can then be followed up with an in-home or virtual (web) training on taking the medication properly. Further triage support can be offered. Feedback is then provided to the patient’s physician and the physician is also guided on how best to manage patients with this disease and treatment.

Email and direct mail support can also supplement the program, as well as follow-up calls by the contact center to make sure the patient stays on track. The graphic below illustrates just how the program can work.

Not all medications need the level of the Clinical Educator to provide the necessary education and support, or there could be areas of the country where you don’t have a CNE team in place. In those instances, the contact center nursing staff can fill in the gap or become your go-to partner.

The important thing is to make sure you have a complete program in place so that patients know why they are taking their medication, how to take it properly, and then alerting the physician when adherence appears to be lacking so subsequent steps can be taken.

Becoming patient-centric is a tough, but a critical task to the future of the healthcare delivery system. Ashfield is a partner that can help you put together and fulfill an effective patient support plan custom tailored to your situation, drawing upon a successful track record of improving patient adherence.

Need more information? Contact Tyler Cowan at

Barb Stevens has a successful track record of building inside sales solutions for biopharmaceutical clients for 10+ years.  She brings her nursing perspective as well as extensive sales rep and sale management experience to each client solution.

1 Tomas Philipson, Non-Adherence In Health Care: Are Patients Or Policy Makers Ill-Informed? Forbes, May 8, 2015.

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