UBC, a leading provider of patient support and late-stage support services, has expanded its Pathways data and communication platform to include a virtual assistant feature, branded as Pathways Engage. While at its heart a texting feature, Pathways Engage deploys “intelligent mobile messaging” to provide a deeper level of engagement with patients, according to Ronald Lacy, VP, Product & Innovation.
Typically, patients would see a screen that offers multiple options to respond, eventually resulting in getting to a number of choices that can be handled with a yes/no response. The process of connecting to an in-person case manager is clearly documented. “Pathways Engage is a guided conversation,” says Lacy. “We’ve looked at apps for patient engagement, as well as open- or free-text communication, and we think this is a better way.” The problem with many apps, he says, is that if patients aren’t using them frequently, involvement quickly drops off. Open-text messaging either requires a person-to-person dialogue (which is a conventional chat feature), while current AI-based response mechanisms are “very frustrating to the user,” according to Lacy. For a pharma manufacturer, there can be liability issues in certain situations if responses aren’t appropriately categorized and addressed.
The goal of the guided conversation is to raise patient engagement and satisfaction, while at the same time improving adherence to therapy. While existing as an add-on to UBC’s Pathways platform (which has multiple modules for benefit verification, prior authorization and other needed patient services typical of hub providers), Pathways Engage can be set up to fit with a pharma client’s own patient support system. The system is currently being implemented for a UBC client.
A demo of the system is available at https://www.ubcengage.com/#engagement.