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Work worth doing: Innovative field solutions

By AmerisourceBergen

At Cencora, we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. That's what makes our work worth doing. And since we do that work in partnership with pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers, we also think it's worth our shared investment — of time, resources, and attention. In this series, we ask experts from across our business to share quick facts on specific solutions and why they're "worth it" for our partners in pharma.

The expert: 

Melissa Mulchahey, Vice President, Innovative Field Solutions Business Development and Strategy, Cencora

The solution: 
Outsourced reimbursement and access support

The stats:

Q: How has technology changed your approach to field solutions?

Melissa Mulchahey: In the past, field teams’ interactions with healthcare provider offices were typically driven by target lists and routing plans rather than being data driven. Currently, interest from our pharmaceutical partners in incorporating different patient and product data sources as part of the territory management approach is becoming more mainstream. We are engaging with existing and new clients to craft compliant reimbursement and access support strategies that incorporate various data streams across the patient and product continuum.

Q: How does the payer landscape impact field solutions?
MM: We see high levels of payer utilization management techniques when it comes to specialty drugs, so that remains a key element of our approach to supporting these products. It is important for access and reimbursement associates to keep providers aware of formulary placement and payer coverage policy changes, as well as payer-specific requirements as they are navigating through utilization management processes.

Q: As more complex therapies enter the market, how do you adapt your services?

MM: Cell and gene therapies can be very complicated, costly types of treatments, requiring high levels of on-site case management support across multiple site of care and product stakeholders. Supporting complex therapies like these does demand a shift in focus and a customized, integrated support strategy. The Cell and Gene Business Operations specialist can play a key role in that case management process that is intrinsic to supporting these types of therapies. Compliantly partnering with others across the ecosystem can help make sure that no patient or provider is left behind.

Q: How did COVID-19 affect your reliance on digital technology for field solutions?

MM: COVID–19 escalated a shift in support approaches as well as support techniques (e.g., in-person to virtual). Post Covid-19 other examples of our recent support innovations include the need for digital versions of support materials such as reimbursement toolkits and the ability for patients to digitally sign support applications. As well, ongoing demand for virtual support, often in combination with live support, remains a market trend.

Q: How does field support "pay off" for manufacturers in terms of patient access?

MM: The field team plays a key role in helping reduce delays in access to care and prescription abandonment. Our teams do this by helping the site of care’s staff understand the resources that are available to patients for support and educating the offices on navigating the utilization management processes for a therapy. We often act as an extension of the patient support services team by providing live and virtual support, and Cencora field teams are able to drive patient support services utilization uptake by more than 25 percent. Because we are typically able to support providers regardless of their patient support services usage, we ensure patients and providers receive the education and support they need.

Q: What other commercialization services integrate well with field solutions?

MM: Our most common partners are patient support services — we often say we’re two sides of the same coin. This is because we are both focused on navigating patients and providers through the processes of starting and staying on therapy. Exposure modeling is also very important so that manufacturers can develop an adequate copay and patient assistance program. Industry benchmarking in terms of access and reimbursement, as well as patient services, helps manufacturers understand the product landscape and the types of services that are available for competitive products and how to distinguish themselves in a crowded therapeutic space.

Q: What are common mistakes manufacturers make with regard to field services and commercialization strategy?

MM: One current trend is manufacturers outsourcing services with multiple vendors versus selecting a single vendor to provide multiple services. When manufacturers work with multiple vendors across the payer, access, and reimbursement ecosystem, as well as trade and distribution, it is important to have a clear plan for integration and communication - not only at launch but in ongoing efforts as well.

Learn more

Field solutions are just one part of your commercialization strategy. Find out how field reimbursement and access strategy fits in with the rest of the journey, and why Cencora is the only pharmaceutical commercialization partner with the combination of proven solutions, diverse perspectives, and unmatched scale to help manufacturers make the most of scientific advances and change patient lives for the better.