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In Retrospect: 5 Patient Service Trends From 2018

Nov 20, 2018

EnvoyHealth shares the top trends we encountered this year. Spoiler alert: Technology is leading the way.

As we prepare for 2019, we’re reflecting on the trends we’ve encountered this year in patient support services — and how they’re shaping the future of healthcare.

1. The health technology market is flourishing.
Attending the Connected Health Conference this year, we were awestruck by the volume and variety of companies using digital healthcare technology to shape healthcare. Technology is imprinting itself on every aspect of the industry — even high-touch patient engagement.

While technology is the future of healthcare, it’s also the present. The key question: How will these technologies connect in the current market? EnvoyHealth designed our eNav patient management tool for flexibility, allowing us to integrate emerging digital technology like two-way texting.

To learn more about building technology into a patient support program, read our recent post on affiliate strategy.

2. Digital therapeutics are emerging.
Digital therapeutics is a new category of medicine. Patients are treated with software instead of — or in coordination with — traditional therapy. After being clinically validated to improve specific outcomes and cleared by the FDA, digital therapeutics can be prescribed like traditional medication.

As a new class of medicine, digital therapeutics face reimbursement and awareness challenges. EnvoyHealth is proud to pioneer patient engagement services that cater to the unique needs of digital-therapeutic customers, including healthcare providers and patients. While digital therapeutics are relatively new to the market, it’s clear that the model for supporting intake and pull-through requires an unorthodox and flexible approach.

Learn more about the digital therapeutics market in our recent article for PCHAlliance.

3. Effective patient engagement goes beyond traditional methods.
A key to patient engagement is using all available communication channels to reach patients when, where, and how they want. This goes beyond phone, text, and email.

Apps and wearables are not just an avenue for communication; they can also be used to deliver multimedia content and gather valuable data. In addition, artificial intelligence can produce insights into patient engagement and foster new ways of delivering support.

At EnvoyHealth, our goal is to deliver improved engagement by tailoring traditional and novel digital services to the needs of individual patients.

4. eBV and ePA won’t completely replace human interaction.
In an ideal healthcare marketplace, systems sync with one another. This would allow for instant understanding of product coverage; patient records seamlessly linked with prior authorization requirements; and a shorter timeline from prescription to fulfillment.

Sadly, despite recent advances to electronic benefit verification (eBV) and prior authorization (ePA) technologies, healthcare still struggles with data accuracy and prescription turnaround times. The best approach for rapid patient access is to supplement today’s advances — including eBV and ePA — with traditional gold-standard benefits investigation services.

At EnvoyHealth, we embrace the benefits of electronic services. But we also know that human oversight and review promote optimal accuracy and speed to treatment.

5. Not all service models are created equal.
Choosing among fee-for-service (FFS), full-time equivalent (FTE), and per-patient (PP) models is a challenge for many manufacturers. Each approach has inherent benefits and drawbacks.

An FFS model offers flexibility, incentivizes comprehensive customer support, and is often beneficial when program volume might not support a dedicated resource. An FTE model offers dedicated or regional account management, single points of contact, and predictable budgeting. A per-patient model allows for a fixed cost but relies on anticipating how each patient will use the services offered.

When designing a program, it’s important to consider the needs of your customers and the goals of your brand. EnvoyHealth evaluates the needs of your program, as well as the costs and benefits of each service model, to provide comparative pricing. We use our rich experience to help you decide which model makes the most sense for your brand.

What trends have you seen this year? Continue the conversation with us on LinkedIn.

Editor’s note: EnvoyHealth leaders Adam Bridges, Heath Nivens, and Mary Roberts contributed to this post.

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