Technology has significantly changed the level of care that is available to patients receiving therapies for rare chronic diseases. Traditional therapy management programs were comprised of a multitude of various service providers that were used by manufacturers to provide reimbursement assistance, patient assistance, pharmacy services and clinical services. Each of these service providers may have used different technology platforms to manage the same patient. Often times, multiple systems did not run on the same platforms, thus making it difficult to integrate them. This resulted in data loss and/or improper transfer of data from provider to provider. Ultimately the goal of any and all service providers involved in the care of patients with rare chronic diseases should be to maximize the level of patient care.
One potential solution would be to centralize all of the activities around the care of the patient at a Patient Service Center (PSC). The Patient Service Center will communicate with all of the other service providers, but will serve as the central management center for the patient. The important thing to understand is that any contact the patient makes with the PSC, will be through their Therapy Manager. This model would ensure that the start of care begins with a clinical focus and ends with a clinical focus. Upon intake, the patient will be assigned to a Therapy Manager and will be followed by the Therapy Manager for the life of the therapy. Each of the Managers will be credentialed Registered Nurses that have been trained exclusively in the competencies of the specific disease. The PSC will use an open source technology platform that can be easily integrated with the systems that are used by the other service providers (e.g. reimbursement, PAP, Pharmacy). When the Therapy Manager needs to check the patient’s benefits, they will have direct access to the system of the specific service provider and will be able to communicate relevant information to the patient(s). The key benefit of this model is that patients that require a high touch approach will have a single point of contact within the PSC. That single point of contact is a health care provider that has access to any relevant information pertaining to the patient’s therapy through an integrated technology platform.
The key to the success of this model is contingent upon selecting the proper technology platform. The system used by the PSC must be able to communicate back and forth with all of the service providers that have been sourced by the manufacturer to provide patient care. Once the systems have been properly integrated and tested, proper training is essential to the success of the model. The RNs managing the patients at the PSC must be thoroughly trained on how to effectively and efficiently utilize the software system. This is a time consuming process, but the single point of contact model has the potential to greatly enhance the quality of care that is currently being delivered to high touch patients suffering from rare chronic diseases. If patients with rare chronic diseases have the opportunity to be followed by a healthcare provider for the lifetime of their therapy or by an employee of a traditional HUB services provider, which option would they likely choose? By having a Therapy Manager, follow the patient as the single point of contact, this model may provide manufacturers of rare chronic diseases with the opportunity to create a competitive advantage in their respective spaces. Everything hinges on the ability of the Patient Service Center to leverage the technology that is available today to create efficient and effective lines of communication between multiple service providers.