Catchphrase or not, the patient journey is seemingly more complex than ever these days—upping the ante for new strategies in specialty-care support
Our cover headline for this month’s special issue on the latest from the hub service/patient support world is “Securing the Journey.” You can argue that the “journey” part of it, and in this case referring to “the patient journey,” is perhaps an overused phrase. Often used to add a touch of show, à la a fill-in-blanks Someone Something’s Journey book or movie title, or slipped nicely into a market research report, press release, or conference session title. But what does it really mean? After all, a “journey” can come in all shapes and sizes and durations; can even be infinite.
But when applied in the context of healthcare and medicine, and what the essence of being a patient today entails—all the relationships and support systems and treatment regimens and unknowns along the way—I think there is really no more apt description, as simple as it may be.
Especially now, in the age of Covid, with the virus, of course, challenging that journey; but more so, the converging of other factors— some exciting, some a little perilous—that will influence those journeys beyond the pandemic. Things like the rise of specialty drugs and advanced therapies, which, in tow with an aging population, offer great opportunity, but also complex coordination around disease management and quality of life. There seemingly is more touchpoints than ever on a patient’s healthcare journey—that passage from symptoms/diagnosis and understanding to “okay, let’s maintain, stay engaged.”
Or maybe the touchpoints haven’t really grown, they’re just more complicated. But in good and promising ways, too. Take, for example, the various data- and tech-driven specialty pharmacy models that are emerging to help manufacturers and their vendor partners better support patients, providers and payers (see related coverage throughout our March issue). And, not to be overlooked, the important role non- commercial pharmacies are playing in patient assistance and adherence in the realm of specialty care (see guest article by Julia Laurin of ConnectiveRx).
The goal of all these moving parts, and the players involved, if they can operate in unison, is where the “securing” part comes in. Because it’s about protecting the patients along their journey as well.
We always preach about the importance of the outcome, the destination, if you will, of a healthcare intervention or program. But the rewards, however slight they may be for some patients, are not realized without the ride. We hope you enjoy your journey through our March issue.
Mike Christel is Editorial Director of Pharmaceutical Commerce. He can be reached at [email protected].