By Robert MacMillan, VP of EHR and Innovation
“My doctor told me I have [condition] on Thursday and gave me a prescription but I haven’t gotten it yet. If I don’t get the meds what’s the worst that will happen?”
That’s how one member of our online health community, MedHelp, described the trepidation around getting started on a medication. It’s an unfortunate yet not uncommon attitude shared by many people who face long-term therapy.
Providers perceive the barriers of starting patients on a new medication, too – from ensuring fulfillment of that first script to the ongoing support that helps address patient concerns. In fact, a recent survey of nearly 300 members of our digital physician community sheds light on key drivers of providers’ prescribing decisions, as well as some of the perceived barriers that their patients have around their care plans.
For example, when considering prescribing a therapy, providers cite the following additional attributes as driving their decision to choose a particular drug (they had the opportunity to select more than one response):
Once prescribed, many providers recognize how overwhelming some of these recommended therapies can be—particularly for chronic conditions—and the subsequent impact on a patient’s ability to follow-through on the care plan. Survey respondents suggest ways to support patients after they leave the provider office.
-74% of providers say they think their patients would benefit from receiving a follow-up call from a pharmacist during the initial prescription period
-59% say they think their patients would benefit from receiving educational material above what was already provided during an office visit
In the words of one provider respondent:
“I think patients need to hear information several times. Even when I am at my own PCP, there is so much information being shared, it is hard to comprehend it all. It must be very hard for a non-medical person at times to get it all. I notice my mother has a hard time with this and I have to go over what the provider said afterward. Re-emphasizing, teaching, and follow up would probably improve compliance in some of our patients.”
How can we address these very real barriers to care? While there are plenty of great initiatives out there aimed at shoring up pieces of the new-brand experience, the industry has yet to benefit from a solution that tackles it with an integrated approach—from point-of-care patient enrollment to doorstep delivery to ongoing patient support, customized to the brand.
That’s exactly what we’ve been developing with our strategic EHR network partners and today, we’re working with life sciences companies to ensure that their brands are part of this integrated solution to improving the new-to-brand experience.
With more people diagnosed with chronic conditions every year, it’s more important than ever to make it as easy as possible for providers to help their patients stay on track with their care plans. None of us can afford to wait around and, in the words of that aforementioned patient, see “what’s the worst that can happen.”