Health system clinic-based specialty pharmacy drives strong patient engagement, improving HCV medication adherence and leading to 100% HCV cure rates in recent study.
In February 2018, Trellis Rx and Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) announced we were partnering to enhance the specialty medication therapy experience for SOMC patients by launching an on-site specialty pharmacy program under the SOMC brand. Shortly thereafter, we integrated a clinical pharmacist and pharmacy liaison in the infectious disease clinic to begin providing in-clinic education, 24/7 support, prior authorization assistance, financial aid assistance, refill reminders, and other services to patients.
Last fall, we collaborated to implement a study that assessed the impact of the clinic-based specialty pharmacy program on HCV medication adherence, access, affordability, and clinical outcomes for patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). When taken as prescribed, HCV therapies can lead to high cure rates (>95%).
The IRB-approved study included 67 patients with HCV. The end points we measured were SVR12 rates stratified by regimen, rates of patient return for SVR12 labs, and out-of-pocket costs for patients using the SOMC Specialty Pharmacy.
To be eligible for the study, patients were required to be 18 years of age or older, have received an HCV regimen written by a SOMC provider after January 1, 2018, and have completed that therapy before the end of the same calendar year. Patients regimens included Glecprevir/pibrentasvir (71%), Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (12%), Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (9%), Elabsvir/grazoprevier (5%), and Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir (3%). Download our poster here to see detailed information about patient demographics by therapy regimen.
Results: Integrated, high-touch specialty pharmacy model improved patient HCV medication adherence and outcomes
By offering in-clinic specialty pharmacy services to patients, SOMC was able to remove barriers, such as cost, to improve specialty medication access and adherence. This resulted in 100% percent medication access and therapy completion rates for participating patients. SVR12 rates were higher than clinical trials — download our poster here to see the results.
Clinical pharmacists and pharmacy liaisons played a key role in in achieving this result by:
- Providing in-person education to patients: Upon being prescribed their HCV medication, patients met in-person with a clinical pharmacist who educated them about their therapy, answered their questions, and proactively identified potential barriers to care. A recent story we shared on our blog helps further illustrate how the personal interactions pharmacists build with patients make them valuable care team members.
- Securing financial assistance for patients: Expensive copays commonly prevent patients from starting needed specialty medications. By helping patients secure financial assistance, pharmacy liaisons significantly lowered the average copay from $553 to $0.75, with 90% of patients paying $0.
- Regularly following-up with patients over their therapy: Throughout the study, clinical pharmacists and pharmacy liaisons checked-in with patients over the phone to ensure adherence and remind them to refill their prescriptions.
Health system specialty pharmacy programs can play a vital role in improving medication access and adherence, leading to better clinical outcomes. By offering on-site specialty pharmacy services, SOMC provides a more personalized patient experience, faster, more affordable access to prescriptions, and more coordinated care. These are the very elements that help ensure patients adhere to their treatment regimens over time and fully realize the benefits of their specialty medications.
Watch for more clinical outcome reports that showcase the impact our health system partners’ specialty pharmacy programs are having on key clinical outcomes such as medication access rate, time to treatment, percent of days covered, patient treatment costs, provider satisfaction, and more.
Is your health system interested in starting or expanding specialty pharmacy services to enhance your patients’ experience and outcomes? Watch our recent Becker’s Hospital Review webinarfor our advice on handling common barriers to success or fill out this short form to have a Trellis Rx team member reach out to you directly.