Friday, March 15, 2024

The Four Key Factors to Evaluate When Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Patient Support Programs

Today’s guest post comes from Josh Marsh, Vice President and General Manager of Sonexus™ Access and Patient Support at Cardinal Health.

Josh discusses factors that drive manufacturers to insource versus outsource patient support services. He shares data from a Cardinal Health survey of biopharmaceutical companies and offers four factors to consider when evaluating your patient support program.

To learn more, download the results from Cardinal Health’s survey: Insourcing and Outsourcing Trends for Patient Hubs.

Read on for Josh’s insights.

The Four Key Factors to Evaluate When Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Patient Support Programs
By Josh Marsh, Vice President and General Manager, Sonexus™ Acess and Patient Support, Cardinal Health

Whether or not to insource patient support services is a question biopharmaceutical companies are often faced with, and the answer is...maybe?

The idea of insourcing functions of a patient support program (PSP) or hub is again gaining traction, and while the promise of increased control may be alluring, it is essential biopharma companies approach insourcing components of the PSP with care, diligently weighing the pros and the pitfalls while also ensuring the strength of their strategy.


According to a recent survey conducted by Cardinal Health Sonexus Access and Patient Support, all biopharma executives polled reported that their organizations currently outsource or have outsourced hub functions in the past three years. And almost all organizations polled (94%) manage some aspects of their PSP in-house, indicating that most biopharma organizations operate, in some capacity, within a hybrid model.

Additionally, three out of five respondents reported they’ll likely insource a few back-end components over the next three years:
  • Data analysis and insights
  • Reimbursement services
  • CRM systems
Interestingly, more than half (56%) reported they were confident that program components currently outsourced to hub vendors are the best they can be, and nine out of ten reported high levels of overall satisfaction with their hub vendors.

On the other hand, fewer (38%) reported confidence that their insourced hub functions were the best they could be yet expressed overall satisfaction (82%) in their organizations’ current handling of in-house hub activities.


Cost savings. While 25% of biopharma executives reported that saving costs was an advantage to insourcing, more than half (52%) believe the exact opposite; that cost control is a factor preventing (or will prevent in the next three years) their organization from moving some hub functions in-house.

The reality is that insourcing demands significant resources—of both personnel and technology. Establishing and maintaining a fully functional hub requires substantial investments in training, technology, and ongoing operational costs, on top of continued innovation.

Furthermore, organizations are wrestling with the implications of the Inflation Reduction Act and reevaluating where capital should be deployed as resources are squeezed. The idea of outsourcing certain functions to existing hub vendors is becoming more prevalent. Operating in a more hybrid model allows companies to continue directing resources to their core.

Increased control. More than half of the biopharma executives surveyed report that data and access control are the two top factors that motivate organizations to move at least some hub functions in-house. This is likely due to a strong incentive for ownership of and access to their data to combine or compare it with aggregated data from other sources.

It’s critical to find an agile vendor with the ability to not only make de-identified data available in real-time but can provide it in an accessible and easily consumable way. Biopharma companies should have ready access to their data when they want it, in what format they want it, and be able to leverage a data liaison from within the hub for accurate interpretation and consistent evolution of that data.


We recommend conducting a thorough assessment of four crucial resources and capabilities when weighing options:
  • Operations. Managing all aspects of a patient services operation can quickly become overwhelming. Without robust infrastructure and experienced operational management personnel, the increased complexity may lead to inefficiencies and, ultimately, suboptimal patient and provider experiences.
  • Talent. The success of an insourced hub relies heavily on the expertise and ongoing training of its staff. Recruiting and retaining an in-house team of skilled reimbursement case managers, program managers, nurses, account managers, and SMEs is a heavy lift in a competitive industry.
  • Technology. Integration of advanced technologies is key to a successful PSP. Insourcing necessitates significant investments to stand up cutting-edge technologies for data management, communication platforms, and analytics internally, as well as external technology such as chat and texting. Failure to keep up with the latest technology can result in inefficiencies and hinder the overall effectiveness of a PSP.
  • Patients. Ultimately, the patient experience is at the heart of any patient support initiative. Insourcing introduces potential disruptions that can impact the seamless delivery of services. From delays in responses to increased administrative burdens, these disruptions can erode the positive impact hubs aim to achieve.
Remember it’s not necessary to have all functions insourced, or all functions outsourced, as it’s rarely an either/or proposition. Ask: “Do we want to insource the people component or the technology component?”

Regardless of which model your strategy requires, it’s important your organization collaborates with a hub expert who is not only invested in the success of your strategy but has the experience, bandwidth, and willingness to support your organization’s PSP evolution, whatever that may look like.

To view all the trends uncovered in our latest survey, access our infographic.

The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of HMP Omnimedia, LLC, Drug Channels Institute, its parent company, or any of its employees. To find out how you can publish a guest post on Drug Channels, please contact Paula Fein (

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