Technology today makes it possible for consumers to approach nearly every part of their lives with an instant gratification mentality. With fast-paced and personalized experiences revolutionizing the consumer journey, patients have naturally grown to expect the same level of self-directed convenience throughout their healthcare journey. This includes searching for information about providers and health conditions and scheduling their appointments anytime, day or night.
While adapting healthcare operations to facilitate a personalized virtual and digital experience can be challenging, the onset of COVID-19 has only accelerated the demand for these options. In specialty pharmacy, where pharmacists dispense medications to patients with complex and often chronic conditions, new self-service tools are empowering patients to play a more active role in managing their care.
Importance of Personalizing Patient Care
In response to the pandemic, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, one of the largest specialty and home delivery pharmacies in the country, fast-tracked the release of digital clinical assessments designed to make it easier for patients to refill their prescriptions online. Using the new technology, eligible patients can securely log in, select the medication they need to refill, then follow guided prompts to answer questions specific to their condition and prescription.
AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s proprietary algorithms use information from each patient to determine relevant questions that will identify when a patient needs to speak with a pharmacist. For example, questions may include whether a patient has missed any doses of their medication and then confirm if the reason is related to issues like convenience, side effects or cost. This helps ensure patients are safely adhering to their medicine and achieving benefits while flagging any responses that may require a dose adjustment, medication change, or a live telephone intervention with an AllianceRx Walgreens Prime clinician.
In addition, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime also uses patient-specific communications, such as phone calls, emails and text messages, to proactively notify patients seven to 10 days before their anticipated refill due date.
According to Jim Adams, chief information officer of AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the digital clinical assessments are intended to empower patients and drive more relevant and meaningful engagements. The new options allow patients to choose when and how they share clinically important information and make it easier for those who are managing their therapy well to move through the refill process faster. Nearly 85% of the specialty patients served by AllianceRx Walgreens Prime are now eligible to complete assessments online, including those managing complex conditions like rare cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and more.
"We believe clinical interactions are more meaningful when they happen on a patient's terms," said Adams. "With digital clinical assessments, we can connect with less burden to the patient, resulting in a more informed, productive and convenient communication exchange. The combination of our digital assessments and notification tools is more than twice as effective in connecting with patients compared to traditional telephonic means, allowing us to get important therapies to them even faster."
Patients also appreciate the convenience. Following the availability of the new self-service tools, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s online traffic grew by 479% since April, with an average processing time of one day for online shipping orders.
Staying Ahead in the Evolution of Patient Communications
Patient needs will continue to evolve, challenging organizations to engage with their customers in new and more relevant ways. In healthcare, this involves increasing support to include a comprehensive digital experience. Moving forward, Adams says AllianceRx Walgreens Prime plans to expand digital tools to include new disease states while exploring opportunities to add value and streamline processes across the care continuum, including stronger care coordination with prescribers.
By enabling personalized and relevant digital experiences, specialty pharmacies can transform the traditional engagement model and provide a platform that enables payers to deliver additional value to patients. For example, many specialty patients have co-morbidities that need to be managed effectively to achieve better health outcomes. By leveraging the trusted and routine engagements between these patients and specialty pharmacies, payers can be part of identifying and executing critical interventions, including care coordination with prescribing physicians, to support each patient further.
“These interactions are so valuable, we cannot let them go to waste,” said Adams. “Working together to empower patients and streamline the treatment journey is something that will benefit the entire healthcare ecosystem.”
AllianceRx Walgreens Prime is a specialty and home delivery pharmacy that strives to provide exceptional care throughout a patient’s treatment journey. AllianceRx Walgreens Prime offers round-the-clock support and useful resources to help patients take their medication as prescribed. For more information, please visit www.alliancerxwp.com and follow @AllianceRxWP on Twitter.