Friday, March 11, 2022

Four Things You Need to Know about Hubs in 2022

Today’s guest post comes from Stacey Little, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at AssistRx.

Stacey analyzes trends in patient support services and reimbursement hubs.

Learn more about AssistRx’s specialty therapy initiation and patient support services at Asembia's Specialty Pharmacy Summit on May 2-5, 2022. Click here to schedule your meeting.

Read on for Stacey’s insights.

Four Things You Need to Know about Hubs in 2022
By Stacey Little, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, AssistRx

Over the past two years, the specialty pharmaceutical industry has experienced significant changes driven by several catalysts, including COVID-19 and new specialty pharmaceutical market entrants.

These new market entrants both elevated life sciences organizations’ ability to support patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) while also heightening requisites for brand differentiation. Digital-first methods, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered virtual assistants are just a few innovations breaking down barriers and building up consumer expectations.

Looking ahead, life sciences organizations need to understand evolving stakeholder expectations, as well as the solutions that are defining and redefining how their patient support programs (PSPs) can improve access and treatment outcomes. Here are the four things to know about PSPs in 2022:


Patients and HCPs have fully adopted telehealth. According to McKinsey and Company, telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38x higher than before COVID-19. Further, 40% of consumers said they’d continue to use telehealth post-pandemic, signifying patients’ comfort level with managing their healthcare through digital means.

While COVID-19 did impact patient behavior, increasing expectations and digital savviness are not new phenomena. As healthcare costs rise and more financial responsibility is placed on patients, they’ve increasingly taken their healthcare into their own hands. In a crowded specialty pharmaceutical space, patients have many options and will seek alternative therapies, physicians and sites of care if unsatisfied. Patients also expect price transparency in real time, immediate access to support, the ability to track their purchase, and 24/7 support.

Life sciences organizations need to meet patients at their point of need – whether that be video calls during the work day or live chat in the middle of the night. According to McKinsey and Company, 40-60% of consumers want broader virtual health solutions. Pharma PSPs can meet this preference through digital solutions, but it’s critical to stratify patient support based on a product’s unique needs, as well as patient, caregiver and HCP populations.


Prior to the pandemic, specialty pharma relied heavily on field reimbursement teams to deliver education and support for HCPs struggling with access hurdles. However, COVID-19-related lockdowns and safety protocols required practices to transition to remote work environments and/or limit visitors—cutting out non-essential office visits from field teams. According to research from Indegene, in-person meetings with sales representatives dropped from 78% to 15%, and the number of HCPs participating in remote meetings jumped from 11% to 47%.

To continue to support HCPs in this new normal, PSPs must evolve in several ways. For example, shareable digital education can be deployed to supplement reduced in-person field team visits. Additionally, digital live or on-demand sessions can be hosted to educate HCPs about available support programs, where to access them and the benefits of leveraging digital channels.


Major players like GoodRx have influenced patients to pursue “a second opinion” on price for retail and specialty lite products. In the world of specialty products, solutions like real-time benefit check (RTBC) display alternative drugs that may cost similar or less than the physician’s prescribed product. The life sciences organization is cut out of the conversation in these instances. Thus, it’s critical that pharma PSPs deliver real-time and comprehensive product-, patient- and pharmacy-specific pricing at the point of prescription.

This is why AssistRx developed our therapy initiation platform, iAssist, and its Advanced Benefit Verification (ABV) feature. Using five patient identifiers, ABV enables HCPs to receive real-time comprehensive patient benefit information, including payer/PBM name and type; BIN and PCN; patient out-of-pocket cost maximum, minimum and remaining; access restrictions like PA required, step edit required; coverage alerts like age limit, days exceeded; deductible amount, remaining and exemptions and much more.

iAssist is a free e-prescribing and e-enrollment platform for nearly all therapies with an NDC. With iAssist, life sciences organizations can provide HCPs with immediate price transparency, visibility into their patient affordability programs, patients’ eligibility for those programs and real-time enrollment.


Meanwhile, other new market entrants are leveraging tech-enabled solutions to support a traditionally underserved segment: specialty lite drugs. Digital pharmacies, which provide telehealth, e-prescription and pharmacy fulfillment, are saturating retail lifestyle drug markets through an e-commerce model that’s patient-driven and cash payment focused.

Similarly, alternate specialty lite pharmacies are taking on products positioned between the specialty and retail spaces. These products may need some specialty services, such as access and patient support, while also having a lower-than-specialty wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) that makes full-time employee models less financially feasible. Alternate specialty lite pharmacies deliver some electronic support services like e-BV and e-prior authorization (e-PA), in addition to a specialty pharmacy for dispensing, but e-services are limited.

These two concepts continue to disrupt the market, with new entrants defining and redefining the market each day. CoAssist, the AssistRx answer to market demand for tech-first, cost-effective digital patient services, differentiates its offering from both digital and alternate specialty lite pharmacies with the ability to kick-off advanced and automated real-time e-support services at Rx intake from the EHR. e-Support Services also include real-time e-BV, e-PA, e-Consent, e-Enrollment and more. Additionally, CoAssist features a limited pharmacy network to support the clinical decision and gain visibility to the patient journey, as well as identifies the best affordability option for the patient, and deploys the necessary technology and expertise to evolve the program alongside the product lifecycle.

Learn more about AssistRx specialty therapy initiation and patient support services by meeting with us at Asembia's Specialty Pharmacy Summit on May 2-5, 2022. Schedule your meeting here.

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