Most of the talk about specialty medications in the media and among the healthcare industry is about their high costs and the effect on drug spend and trends, but another important factor that can be overlooked is the impact of these revolutionary drugs on the patient experience. Specialty medications treat serious, chronic conditions and oftentimes the patients taking them have been through a lot. They might be scared, confused or overwhelmed. Because the disease states and medications are complex, there could be a number of complications that impede treatment. Patients are looking for guidance and expertise to properly manage their therapy and have the best possible outcomes.
At EnvisionPharmacies, we take this very seriously. Our pharmacists spend extra time with patients, assessing risks and benefits, their readiness to begin treatment, tracking their disease progression and adherence, and providing guidance, comfort and support. As an example, we spend an average of 22 minutes with patients with inflammatory conditions before we dispense the medication, ensuring their commitment to start treatment, that they understand the therapy and possible side effects, have injection training if need be, and know the importance of adherence to the drug.
Our dedication to the patient is the difference between simply supplying a medication and impacting the quality of a patient’s life. This dedication has led to a 98% overall satisfaction rating among our patients for both pharmacy services and clinical pharmacist support.
Condition and Specialty Certifications Enhance Service
To ensure we are providing the best possible service to our patients, many of our pharmacists hold additional credentials, including Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP), board certified pharmacotherapy specialist and Medication Therapy Management (MTM) certified pharmacist. Our pharmacists earned these designations through education, practical experience and passing rigorous examinations, proving their knowledge and commitment to specialty pharmacy and the patients we treat.
Additionally, we have multiple sclerosis certified specialists (MSCS), a certification that demonstrates knowledge of multiple disciplines in the specialized area of MS care. We incorporate the expertise of MSCS pharmacists into our care management process to ensure the program offers a multi-discipline, holistic approach, routinely updated with the most recent best practices for MS care.
“It’s about taking care of the patient as a whole. MS patients need the most attention and TLC because their disease burden often gets worse over time,” said Michele Hamblin, Pharm.D., R.Ph., MSCS, clinical pharmacist supervisor, Manufacturer Programs, at EnvisionSpecialty, regarding the importance of an MSCS designation in caring for MS patients. “We talk to our patients about their condition and help them manage their symptoms. We reinforce the importance of keeping on their drug regimen even if they don’t feel better because that helps to avoid disease progression.”
Hamblin explained that the process of the MSCS certification covers more than just the disease and treatment options. She also learned about patient advocacy. She relayed an example of this advocacy when she worked with a mother whose daughter was no longer able communicate due to her advanced state of MS, helping her get power of attorney for her daughter, reinforcing the multifaceted benefits of MSCS certification.
Commitment to Care Helps Patients and Plans
One of our pharmacists recently demonstrated our commitment to high-quality care when speaking to a psoriasis patient. Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin that can be painful and embarrassing, and side effects related to medications are not uncommon. The patient reported increases in depression, fatigue and injection-site reactions as a result of weekly injection therapy. The pharmacist discussed energy management strategies with the patient and provided emotional support. She also consulted the patient’s dermatologist about other treatment options and the patient was successfully converted to a once-every-three-months therapy regimen. The patient’s psoriasis symptoms improved and the injection issues were resolved, while the plan saved $4,969 by avoiding the potential waste from the patient not adhering to the medication.
EnvisionSpecialty Pharmacists Make a Difference
We truly believe that each interaction is an opportunity to make a difference for the patient and their family. We know it’s not just the medication that produces results for the patient. It’s about getting the right medication at the right time, having confidence in the therapy and support throughout treatment. Our pharmacists go to work every day to provide the best possible experience, with improved costs and clinical outcomes for patients. We believe that we have the opportunity—sometimes big, but often small—to be a hero for our patients every day.