Addressing these questions can help you take your patient support services strategy from “good to great”:
- Do the unique characteristics of your product, its patients and their prescribers truly warrant the need for support services? If so, which services should you provide and for how long? Right-fit services need to be based on analysis of clearly defined patient segmentation (i.e. patient age at disease onset, gender, cultural background, stage of targeted disease, likelihood of caregiver presence, etc.) While this may seem easier said than done, understanding who needs what, when and for how long can drive meaningful outcomes and support for your patients through positively affecting their ability to start therapy and continue on it, where appropriate.
- Is this a new product launching into a therapeutic area flooded with Hubs, so you feel the “need” to have one too? Putting right-fit services in place at launch can be critical to your product’s and the patient’s success. However, knowing how many, which ones, and at what point in the patient’s journey to apply them are essential components to helping your patients when they need it most. This will powerfully assist in differentiating your support service from those provided by competitors.
- How long has your product been on the market? Lifecycle matters! Proactively assessing and managing your product’s support services should be a key component of your product’s overall lifecycle management process. Consumption of services changes over time, so do not be afraid to keep the program relevant and honed to meet present patient needs by discontinuing, adding and/or replacing some services where a new or different need has arisen.
- Does your current suite of support services resemble a patchwork quilt of individual tactics knitted together as a result of ad hoc requests from stakeholders? Do you have multiple service providers, such as Hub and specialty pharmacy, touching your patients? If so, re-assess how you’ve segmented patients and how your understanding of their needs and wants has evolved since program launch. Analyze what percentage of your patients are new and may need / want the full suite of services vs. existing patients who may need only a subset or, potentially, different ones from those offered today. Understanding this ratio will inform your strategy and allow you to mend your “quilt” to ensure each patch fits together cohesively for today’s patients’ needs. Confirm that each provider’s service has a significant place within your quilt and is neither duplicative nor extraneous.
- How will you evaluate whether or not your Hub personnel understand the patient journey from diagnosis through desired outcomes in the same manner you do? Who do you trust to have the passion and authenticity needed to provide a high-touch patient experience and make the greatest discernible difference in the quality of life for your patients? Determine who, within each service provider’s organization (as well as your own), has the appropriate attitude, perspective, and passion required to take care of the subtle intricacies of administering your right-fit services. Only then can you ensure that there is appropriate leadership in place to serve as the model for the other caretakers of your patient support services.