Speed-to-therapy is of the utmost importance for specialty medicines, since delays can result in worsening symptoms or hospitalization. Unfortunately, patients face many challenges during the medication onboarding process – some of which prevent medication initiation altogether – including: completing copious amounts of enrollment paperwork, receiving insurance approval, investigating side-effects and drug interactions, figuring out the most convenient fulfillment option, and understanding what sorts of financial assistance might be available.

While patients may feel alone in their journey to start a new medication, in many cases, a pharmaceutical manufacturer or hub may be able to help.

What is Patient Consent?

In the context of specialty medications, patient consent (sometimes referred as authorization or opt-in) is the explicit permission given by a patient to a pharmaceutical manufacturer, specialty pharmacy, or designated hub, to collect, use, and share their personal health information for a variety of support services related to the medication regimen. 

In most cases, consent is obtained via the medication’s enrollment form, and ensures that the patient can be supported by various stakeholders who might be involved in their care. For example, when patient consent is collected, a manufacturer – or their hub – can reach out to the patient and support them through various onboarding steps. These steps may include: completing benefits verification or managing insurance approvals, prior authorization completion, copay assistance or Patient Assistance Program (PAP) management, and adherence/educational initiatives. 

Simply put, patient consent collection enables ongoing engagement with the patient and downstream medication adherence. Without consent, manufacturers and hubs are blind to the hurdles patients may be facing in the onboarding experience and cannot support them in simplifying the med access journey. 

The Challenges Associated with Capturing Patient Consent

The reality is that collecting patient consent can be difficult. Not only are patients often skeptical of supplemental paperwork and sharing their personal health information, but in many cases, patients are not guided – or even asked – to provide consent by their care team. This causes consent questions to be skipped and limits support from manufacturers and hubs. 

An additional challenge in collecting patient consent is the ability to obtain it digitally, at the point of care. In many cases, patients work with their providers to develop a care plan, and then leave the office without knowing additional paperwork may be required. The provider team begins the enrollment forms, unable to collect signatures in the moment. Without a point-of-care, technology-driven process, patient consent must be collected after-the-fact via text, email, or snail-mail – reducing the likelihood of successful consent capture. 

In some cases, consent collection is only triggered when an enrollment is passed to the manufacturer’s hub, greatly limiting the number of patients who are qualified to be engaged with. Since provider offices or specialty pharmacies may complete enrollment steps on their own (without collecting consent), manufacturers and hubs are unable to engage with any of these patients at any point in the onboarding journey. 

Based on RxLightning data of nearly 10,000 consent collections from this year, we know that patients are not typically being asked for consent in the provider’s office. Unfortunately, more than three quarters of consent collection is initiated after the patient has left the office. Since speed-to-therapy is a top priority and paper-based processes cause significant delays, RxLightning is helping organizations evolve their patient services by collecting digital patient consent upfront, enabling providers and FRMs to view insights and proactively support patient access. 

Transitioning to Digital Consent Collection

RxLightning’s comprehensive MedAccess Ecosystem brings together various stakeholders, processes, and technologies to improve specialty medication onboarding on behalf of patients. One of the critical components of this ecosystem is digital consent collection. 

By capturing consent while the patient is in the provider’s office – with subsequent email/SMS collection methods used only if necessary – RxLightning enables immediate hub/manufacturer communication with patients to ensure enrollment success and ongoing adherence. 

We’ve seen great results from our provider partners, with one physician collecting patient consent 100% of the time for an osteoporosis medication she often prescribed. Further, a cancer center partner collected 95% of patient consents prior to any enrollments reaching the manufacturer’s hub, significantly reducing the amount of manual work needed by the hub to begin support. 

While the majority of consent collection requests still take place after patients have left the office, our data shows that collecting consent while patients are in the office can increase collection success by more than 10%.  When initiated in-office, consent collection is successful nearly 92% of the time, while email, text, and mail processes are only successful 69% to 83% of the time. 

Further, the same digital processes used for patient consent collection can be used for provider signatures, which are required for most enrollment forms (PAP or otherwise). Together, digital technology can streamline the entire enrollment process and significantly improve patient engagement and speed-to-therapy. 

Empowering Stakeholders to Support Med Access

RxLightning data shows that in-office, digital consent collection results in higher rates of opt-ins and better patient engagement, subsequently increasing speed-to-therapy and adherence via hub and manufacturer support services. 

Even educated healthcare consumers need support through the complicated medication enrollment process. With upstream consent collection, processes like benefits verification, prior authorization, and pharmacy selection can be managed by a dedicated team who works with patients and providers to eliminate hurdles and drive onboarding success. 

While work is still needed to collect consent from every patient for every specialty medication, RxLightning’s comprehensive MedAccess Ecosystem – which includes digitized enrollment forms and consent collection technology – is enabling higher rates of consent success and empowering stakeholders to support patients throughout their medication onboarding journeys. To learn more about RxLightning’s consent collection technologies, contact us today.