A stop watch starts the second a patient receives their diagnosis, counting away until the appropriate therapy has been provided to the patient. In today’s healthcare environment, that stop watch would continue for 1,209,600 seconds, or roughly 14 days.
…that’s unacceptable, don’t you think?
Stakeholders involved in the time to fill certainly think so, and they are challenging themselves to quicken the speed to therapy so that 14 days of waiting (or 1,209,600 seconds) becomes a thing of the past.
So how do we identify the obstacles in time to fill, and more importantly – how do we get faster at therapy initiation? It’s much like how a runner trains for a 5K race. There is the preparation period (setting a goal pace and establishing a training regimen), the inevitable challenges that occur during training (injuries, lack of motivation), and of course race day itself and the unique factors that may impact your final performance (weather, hydration, breakfast). Speed to therapy has similar goals and challenges; who knew your passion for running could spark an improvement in the time to fill?
We’ve all heard that the key to success is preparation. That goes for reaching your goal 5K pace and shortening the time to fill. Here are some key 5K preparation lessons that apply to identifying and eliminating delays in the time to fill.
Before you start training for a 5K, there are a few items you need to check off your list. Registering for the race of your choice, ensuring your sneakers are in good condition, setting a goal pace and creating a preliminary training schedule are all important factors to handle prior to training. Also be sure to understand the course characteristics and how they will impact your training. Are there hills or is it a flat course? Will you be running on pavement, dirt, gravel or mud? How many runners have signed up? These facts will allow you to create a personalized plan for a successful training period and ultimately a successful race.
Successful therapy initiation also begins with proper preparation. Strategies include streamlining the prior authorization and insurance coverage determination process, removing financial barriers to medication access, and industry benchmarking to determine the appropriate days to therapy (just like setting your goal 5K pace). Understanding the product characterizations and how they impact speed to therapy will also be a key factor in eliminating delays. If the groundwork is set appropriately, you’ll be on your way to your goal time from therapy to initiation.
Challenges – they appear in our personal and professional lives and inevitably change our course of action. The key to defeating challenges is to anticipate potential pain points ahead of time so you can prepare for and diffuse a challenging situation. Let’s take a look at how this manifests in 5K training and speed to therapy.
Once you begin your race training, there are common challenges that may occur. Do your homework to identify typical roadblocks that appear during 5K training and learn how to mediate them when they happen (or better yet, prevent them): injuries, dehydration, lack of motivation or an inefficient diet. Runners everywhere have documented their training challenges and are happy to share solutions, so don’t be shy to seek them out and ask for help.
The best way to identify challenges in time to fill is to follow the patient journey. Just like you’d ask a runner how they stretch to prevent injuries, patients will provide the best insight into their personal experience with therapy initiation and what they’d like to see improved in the process. Technology is also a big factor in proactively avoiding challenges in time to fill. Mobile and cloud-based tools can be utilized to securely store, analyze and share the necessary patient and product data to help execute successful therapy initiation and adherence.
Here it is, the final stretch. It’s where all of the preparations and challenges become an after-thought and it’s time to perform. Don’t worry. This is the fun part.
You’ve trained and defeated challenges, and now it is race day. This should be a breeze if you follow a few final steps and execute, execute, execute. Properly hydrate the night before and eat a healthy breakfast that is easy to digest and low in fiber. Weather can also be a factor, so dress appropriately and be sure to warm up.
Speed to therapy’s version of “race day” is the final stage of therapy initiation – patient access and adherence. Hub and specialty pharmacy interactions need to be streamlined to allow for a smooth product delivery. Patient access services are also an important factor to embed in the specialty pharmacy to avoid unnecessary frustration. Once the patient receives their medication, the final dash to the finish line is proper hospital discharge, education and patient adherence to therapy. As the outpatient process comes to a close, congratulations, you have reached the finish line!
Of course, the path from diagnosis to therapy is a complicated and regulated journey that is more like a marathon than a 5K – but we’re certainly on our way to 26.2 miles. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, join us in Philadelphia August 13-14, 2013 for Speed to Therapy: A Multi-Stakeholder Examination of Time to Fill and the Patient Journey. This one-and-a-half day conference explores multiple perspectives from a variety of stakeholders on the factors impacting and reducing the time to fill. We’d love to see you there!
(Image Courtesy of Official U.S. Navy Imagery Flickr Creative Commons)