Friday, August 19, 2022

The Next Great Healthcare Surge: A ‘Diagnosis Explosion’

Today’s guest post comes from H. John Beardsley, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at CoverMyMeds.

John discusses how a patient-centric technology solution can increase access and affordability for patients. He goes on to describe how human contact and support helps patients understand their disease and their treatment plan, thus increasing adherence.

Click here to learn how CoverMyMeds’ technology interventions help patients.

Read on for John’s insights.

The Next Great Healthcare Surge: A ‘Diagnosis Explosion’
By H. John Beardsley, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, CoverMyMeds

Every day, healthcare systems find washing up on their shores waves of conditions that were either undiagnosed or not well-managed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are calling it a "diagnosis explosion" of chronic and complex conditions, and fear the tides of cancer alone could be significant.

Throughout the first year of the pandemic, Americans canceled or delayed almost 1 billion diagnostic tests and routine visits. And last year, 84% of U.S. patients surveyed said they delayed or skipped in-person healthcare visits—mostly due to COVID-19 fears or reduced availability. Of those patients, 16% delayed or skipped preventative screenings where underlying conditions can be detected early.

More recent medicine-use trends support these growing concerns, too. An April 2022 report found that new-to-brand chronic prescriptions have increased steadily but still aren’t yet to pre-pandemic levels. In other words, there are still undiagnosed and untreated patients out there, many with chronic conditions who will likely require specialty medications.

Healthcare, inclusive of pharmaceutical companies, can start stemming the flood by eliminating cumbersome barriers to medication access, adherence and affordability, and by embracing technology that speeds patients through their medication journey. For more on how CoverMyMeds’ solutions can support your brand with technology interventions along the medication access journey, visit our solutions overview.


When volume is a concern, speed and automation are often the answers. To combat this diagnosis explosion, patients will need cumbersome barriers eliminated quickly and for technology to speed them through the process of getting started on their needed therapies.

Often when patients are prescribed a new therapy, the prior authorization (PA) process can be a barrier to obtaining it. In fact, 1 in 4 patients experience delays in medications due to PA.

Automated, technology-based PA support for providers can help manage the challenges of PA and keep newly diagnosed patients on their intended course of care. In some cases, with enhanced ePA support for a brand, increased PA request submission led to nearly double the number of PA requests approved by the health plan.

Playing a similarly key role will be patient-driven interoperability and the advancement of digital health. Solutions that embrace technology can simplify access to even highly complex or niche therapies and give all stakeholders greater visibility into the patient’s health journey. Keeping everyone on the same platform helps get patients faster treatment—in some cases, reducing time to therapy by 34%.

For some patients, though, medication access struggles are really affordability issues. Last year, 51% of patients sacrificed their medications to pay for essential items like bills.

Here again, connected, patient-centric solutions can help. By surfacing strategic affordability solutions, eligible patients can link up with pharma-sponsored programs like copay and patient assistance programs.

For example, CoverMyMeds implements and administers comprehensive patient assistance programs through a program pharmacy that enables access to foundation and other free medication programs to eligible patients treated at hospitals, in community care settings and at home. That way, no matter where patients access care, they can find ways to afford their medications.

Many factors can likewise affect medication adherence, as each patient’s experience and needs are unique. One such factor is found in adverse side effects from certain medications. A recent survey found 1 in 5 cancer patients didn't take their medications as prescribed and cited unpleasant side effects as the main reason.

But while technology can remind patients of refills and set up medication regimens, it can be limited in its effectiveness. Often the best way to get patients to follow these plans is through care team intervention. That’s where solutions with a skilled combination of technology and humanity can help. Specialists trained on specific brands, for instance, can support patients in better understanding their conditions, drug interactions, side effects and more.

Indeed, patients receiving this kind of support—one that marries technology with expert human intervention—have seen a 25% increase in adherence and 31 more days on therapy. What’s more, the efficiencies and connections found in technology can create space for healthcare to truly understand health journeys and medication regimens.

Herein lies the hope. Because person by person, patient by patient, the space for a listening ear and real human help adds up. And those numbers, when taken together, can grow into something strong and steady and better suited to turn the tides in the patient’s favor.

CoverMyMeds can help stem the tide of the “diagnosis explosion” through medication access, affordability and adherence solutions. Customize a plan to support patients throughout their medication access journeys. To learn more about your brand can be supported with technology interventions, visit our solutions overview.

Sponsored guest posts are bylined articles that are screened by Drug Channels to ensure a topical relevance to our exclusive audience. These posts do not necessarily reflect our opinions and should not be considered endorsements.

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