It’s a sad reality: Far too many patients need financial assistance, yet the healthcare industry lacks a standardized, efficient system to connect them with vital resources. Over the course of my career, I’ve witnessed this challenge firsthand.
My connection with healthcare is personal, as I entered the healthcare field not long after my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While accompanying her to treatments at a university hospital, I met an acquaintance who would later connect me with my first job in the industry, as a regional practice liaison for a large specialty pharmacy.
In that role, I worked directly with financial navigators and pharmacy techs who were trying to secure assistance for their patients. I helped educate them about the services we offered—including prior authorization and financial assistance support—to ease their workloads. Still, they had to figure out, using paperwork and manual systems, which patients might be eligible for assistance and how to enroll them.
I saw similar inefficiencies when I worked for a company that provides affordability, medication access, and patient support services on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Once again, I saw financial navigators with stacks of paper on their desks and calendars on their walls. This was their only method of managing the complex enrollment and claims process.
I thought, “There has to be a better way.”
Harnessing Technology to Simplify Assistance
Fortunately, innovative technologies have emerged that did not exist when I first entered the field. These solutions make it possible to streamline enrollment in assistance offered by life science companies. At TailorMed, our Express Enroll feature does just that. It seamlessly connects the financial navigation experience to drugmakers’ copay programs and patient assistance programs. This means that providers and pharmacies within the TailorMed network can complete program enrollments through a fully digital process, without leaving the TailorMed platform.
Since I joined the TailorMed team, it’s been heartening to see the positive response to Express Enroll from navigators, pharmacy techs, and other professionals who now have a faster, simpler way to help their patients afford lifesaving therapies. At the same time, I’ve found it encouraging to watch more life science companies partner with us to launch new Express Enroll capabilities.
Expanding Life Science Partnerships
A few months ago, TailorMed announced an exciting new partnership with Pfizer to improve access to the Pfizer Oncology Together Patient Assistance Program and Copay Assistance Program. We’ve continued to build momentum. In September, we went live with an Express Enroll interface that will expand access to copay assistance programs for virtually all medications in Genentech’s portfolio—in the areas of oncology, immunology, and more. And today, we launched our latest partnership—this time with Eagle Pharmaceuticals to enable seamless enrollment in its Pemfexy Copay Assistance Program for lung cancer patients. By the end of the year, we expect to have almost 60 brands supported by Express Enroll. Integrations with Genentech’s patient assistance programs are expected in early 2024—and we won’t stop there.
Streamlined, Branded Enrollment
On the back end, each one of these Express Enroll integrations looks different, as every pharmaceutical company uses different hub vendors, copay vendors, proprietary APIs, and other systems for their assistance programs. At the same time, each program also has different eligibility criteria, application questions, signature requirements, and more. Fortunately, we’re able to work within each company’s compliance and technology constraints to create unique, branded enrollment experiences. These experiences then become part of the wider financial assistance workstreams of the providers and pharmacies in our network.
The result? Everyone benefits. First, the solution reduces friction for those who are working directly with patients, alleviating the burden of manual, time-consuming tasks. For drugmakers, this digital approach also supports efforts to limit the volume of paper applications and reduce missing data issues. Life science companies also have a vested interest in speeding the initiation of therapy and improving adherence. When patients are swiftly approved and enrolled in assistance, they’re able to get on treatment faster—and no one is forced to delay or forgo vital care because they cannot afford it.
The Case for Standardization
As we continue to evolve our partnership strategy with life science companies, we’re proud to help dismantle the barriers that prevent patients from accessing the assistance they need. But we recognize that a long-term solution will require a more revolutionary approach—one that brings together pharmaceutical companies, copay and hub vendors, technology companies like TailorMed, and other stakeholders. These parties should focus on introducing greater standardization, so that assistance enrollment is no longer a messy, protracted process, but a simple, efficient one.
I think back to the financial navigators I met early in my career. And I think of my personal experience getting to know patients and families while I was caring for my mom. In both cases, I learned that affordability could have a profound impact on treatment success. Let’s commit to leveraging any and all tools at our disposal to get patients the resources they need—as swiftly and seamlessly as possible.
To learn more about the new Express Enroll interface with Eagle’s Pemfexy Copay Assistance Program, visit us here. We encourage current TailorMed clients to contact their Customer Success Manager.
New to TailorMed and interested in learning how we can help your organization optimize patient financial assistance? Get in touch with us here.