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Read my five-piece blog series to learn the components of a successful patient support programme (PSP).

Following our popular blog post, ‘The five big pitfalls to avoid for successful patient support programmes’, we’re taking each pitfall in turn to look in more detail at what it takes to succeed.

Step 1:  Define your objectives. Measure and report on them.

Measurement and reporting may sound like something you think about towards the end of a programme, but actually it’s one of the first things you should address. It’s a huge reason why PSPs fail, and it’s because either the right objectives haven’t been set in the first place, or because there aren’t the proper systems in place to capture and report on the objectives.

Defining objectives

Within a multi-disciplinary team, ask the following questions to get clarity and consensus on the reasons why you are investing in a PSP:

  • What is the patient experience, or “journey” as it is commonly called, throughout their disease discovery, diagnosis and treatment?
  • What and where are the therapy failure points e. what are the critical points in the patient journey where they are most likely to become non-adherent and why?
  • What is the revenue value of the medication per patient if adhered to properly throughout the course of treatment? How much does it cost to acquire a new patient vs retaining a current one?
  • What are the challenges at this point in the lifecycle for this particular product? E.g. is it a new, complex biologic requiring intensive support or an established, mass market drug-device combination with declining market share?
  • What are the expected health outcomes and how do these differ based on demographics and disease states?
  • What improvements in their quality of life can the patient expect?
  • Who are the other stakeholders involved (e.g. carers and HCPs) and what would treatment adherence and better outcomes mean to them?

Once these factors are understood, objectives can be established for a patient support programme that will truly meet organisational goals while optimising patient outcomes.

Measuring programmes

Setting the right goals is a critical first step but it becomes meaningless without the proper measurement and reporting systems in place to assess whether the programme is meeting those goals. This allows you to make appropriate adjustments to the programme and patient care plans in order to stay on course for success.

Decide early how you will measure success and how you will measure the right things to support your commercial and medical decisions. In this way, you can plan which systems and processes you will need to collect, manage and report on the data.

It is much more difficult if you wait until the programme is up and running before deciding what data should be collected and then setting up the systems and processes retrospectively.

Programme measurement will rely on a variety of data collection, and your performance indicators could include:

  • Quality indicators e.g. patient and HCP satisfaction, compliance and adverse event (ADE) / product technical complaint (PTC) reporting
  • Productivity indicators e.g. site and patient enrolments, and service uptake by patients
  • Clinical indicators e.g. patient reported outcomes such as Quality of Life (QoL), clinical outcomes, length of time on treatment, adherence, persistence and drop-off rates
  • Value indicators e.g. return on objectives, cost-efficiency, sales performance and market share.

There’s a lot to think about and to plan for – but this data can have huge value for the organisation. The data generated from PSPs can support regulatory requirements e.g. post-marketing surveillance studies, pricing and reimbursement strategies and scientific publications.

Remember that different internal departments and external stakeholders will want to see different outcomes from a PSP. More on this next time!

Check back for part two of the blog series and follow us on LinkedIn for updates. Need more information now? Contact Nagore to find out how we can help you.

Nagore Fernandez is Ashfield’s Head of Patient Solutions for EUCAN. Ashfield is a leading provider of innovative, flexible and scalable Patient Support Programmes, with over 16 years’ experience in designing and delivering a wide range of patient centric programmes. Nagore is a Clinical Pharmacist, holds a Masters in Clinical Research and has over 10 years’ experience in the field.

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