What is a digital companion, and how is it changing patient support for the better?

By AmerisourceBergen

Expanding program options to meet patients where they are in the treatment journey

When you hear the term "digital companion," what comes to mind? Do you think of digital assistants like Siri and Alexa? Maybe you're more literal, and you conjure up images of robot friends or those popular digital pets from the 1990s.

That combination of tailor-made helper and high-tech sidekick is just what Lash Group had in mind when they added Medisafe's digital companion to their market-leading medication adherence programs.

Yes, there's an app for that

Broad adoption of smartphones and mobile apps means more opportunities than ever for healthcare professionals to use those tools to connect with patients. In fact, 81% of Americans now own smartphones. Of those smartphone users, 69% say they would like to receive reminders to arrange appointments or prompt them to take their medication. Pharmaceutical manufacturers that recognize the engagement opportunities mobile apps present and adapt adherence programs to their patients' digital habits stand a greater chance of helping improve outcomes.

How does a digital companion work, then? Once a patient is enrolled in the manufacturer's patient support program, they'll receive an invitation to download the mobile app. At that point, the patient's journey with the digital companion begins. Texting features enable real-time communication between the program and the patient, which means timely information regarding status and refills. Other built-in features include:

  • Program notifications, like benefit verification status, prior authorization results, and copay updates, to keep the patient informed of medication status anytime, anywhere
  • Appointment reminders, including welcome calls and provider visits
  • Prescription refill reminders with shipment confirmations and address validation
  • On-demand messages for reaching patients via text messaging when nurses are unable to contact them by phone, with unlimited templates available using program CRM data fields
  • Data collection that provides a level of good insight to the patient population as it relates to treatment outcome, experience, and gap areas for support
  • Self-service education tailored to the patient's therapy and disease state, including injection administration training

Why it works better: High-tech and high-touch

While digital companions and patient support programs have each demonstrated significant efficacy on their own, the combined effort offers just the right boost. Armed with behavioral information from the digital companion, nurses are better able to do what they do best: intervene with at-risk patients before adherence drops off.

For one Lash Group client using the digital companion, self-reported medication doses reached 95% and nurses saved valuable task-based time so they could spend more time talking with patients.

To learn more, download our case study.

And don't forget to feed your Tamagotchi.