How Pharmacist-led Care Improves Specialty Medication Management
Targeted consultations address the need for personalized care for patients taking specialty medications
As oral oncolytic therapies replace traditional intravenous chemotherapy treatment methods, biosimilars enter health plan formularies, and generics replace expensive branded medications, health plans must tackle new complexities around driving patient medication adherence and persistence, minimizing medication-medication/food-medication interactions, and more. Simultaneously, patients must juggle the high prices, confusing administration methods, and varied instructions for their medications during the most vulnerable of times. Specialty medications have become increasingly complicated with no signs of stopping.
From complex multi-medication regimens to understanding proper administration and navigating the uncertainties of these high-cost medications, several barriers exist and prevent patients from being their healthiest. Combine this with the fact that the treatment of cancer and other chronic conditions continues to evolve rapidly, and the need for strong patient engagement and highly coordinated, team-based care has never been greater.
The role of clinical pharmacists in specialty medication management programs
It’s not just cancer treatment that requires expensive and complicated medication therapies. Complex chronic conditions such as diabetes, HIV, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and many more require ongoing adherence to specialty medications.
For patients afflicted by one or more of these conditions, the watchful care of a clinical pharmacist can be the key to optimizing medication use and ensuring the best possible health outcomes. Unlike physicians who have a rotating door of patients on any given day, pharmacists have a narrower focus–medications. This allows pharmacists to be extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the management of prescriptions, especially specialty medications. From coaching patients on proper medication administration, to decoding complicated instructions, pharmacists can make the process of taking specialty medications vastly easier for patients. If a patient is taking a regimen of multiple specialty medications, it’s in everyone’s best interest for a clinical pharmacist to have an active role in the healthcare team:
Benefits to patients
Specialty medications can be extremely expensive. Patients taking one or more of them should aim to get the maximum therapeutic benefit from each medication. This prevents the worsening of health conditions that could potentially require even more costly care in the future. When patients have access to a clinical pharmacist who can easily guide them through proper medication use in terms they understand, it makes managing their conditions much easier.
Benefits to health plans
Health plans have a strong interest in ensuring that their member populations stay healthy. Because health plans are responsible for covering portions of each members’ healthcare costs, they aspire to prevent future health problems before they ever occur. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups, and of course, pharmacist-led specialty medication management programs are all a part of achieving health plan goals.
Benefits to clinical pharmacists
Pharmacists choose to enter the profession out of their passion to help patients stay healthy through proper medication use. Unfortunately, pharmacists have been bogged down by impatient customers, staffing shortages, and duties like inventory management that take them away from the work they’ve dedicated their careers to. Specialty medication management programs allow pharmacists to take their rightful positions on the healthcare team as medication experts, and have an active role in ensuring the best health outcomes for their patients.
Advantages of a clinical pharmacist-led approach
Aspen RxHealth’s remote clinical pharmacists don’t fill patient prescriptions. Regardless of where the patient fills their prescription, we focus our solutions on providing tailored and timely patient care based on the specific disease state and the patient and provider’s shared goals. We customize patient engagement and member education strategies based on our clients’ unique needs, with a robust nationwide community of over 7,000 remote pharmacists designed to focus specifically on patients’ clinical vulnerabilities.
Our pharmacists then deliver consultations with the most relevant and meaningful messaging. We also handle subsequent educational needs/follow-ups for our clients as part of a comprehensive care team. Our remote pharmacists can then align their patient care plans in accordance with the patient’s labs, scans, physician’s notes and in collaboration with physicians, ARNP/NP, and nurses.
As new medications enter the market, the need for pharmacist-led care in specialty medication management is critical now more than ever. Aspen RxHealth’s inventive model was developed to meet the needs of a wide array of members and patients – with the intent of driving improved adherence rates that outperform traditional benchmarks, as well as superior patient experience.
Together, we can simplify the usage of the most complex medications.
If you’re a health plan looking to optimize specialty medication use in your populations, you can reach a member of our team here, or learn more about our specialty medication management solutions here.