Loyalty: The Measure of Value

Specialty Pharmacy Times, February 2012, Volume 3, Issue 1

Increasing customer satisfaction leads to the likelihood of customer loyalty. Nurses can provide value-added services for specialty pharmacies, manufacturers, and payers that promote customer loyalty.

Increasing customer satisfaction leads to the likelihood of customer loyalty. Nurses can provide value-added services for specialty pharmacies, manufacturers, and payers that promote customer loyalty.

Recently, I attended a conference on creating and measuring value for patients with ultra orphan diseases. Physicians, manufacturers, and payers discussed the need for ultra orphan therapies that create value through lower costs and higher quality while delivering improved outcomes, and the need to define, deliver, and measure value. What is the value of nursing, and what role does nursing play in this arena?

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Value is not about what we do, but rather why we do what we do. The ultimate measurement of value is customer satisfaction. Loyalty becomes the measure of customer satisfaction. Although it’s possible to change that understanding through a variety of efforts, make no mistake, customer satisfaction is the ultimate value measure of what is offered. With increased customer satisfaction comes the likelihood of customer loyalty. Physicians, manufacturers, payers, and specialty pharmacies all strive for patient loyalty while balancing the cost, quality, efficacy, and outcomes of their service or product. Nursing plays a tremendous role in customer loyalty. Patients will change pharmacies, medications, and payers, but don’t mess with their nurse! They are loyal to the nurse because he or she offers a personal touch. No one spends more time interacting with the patient than the nurse.

Nurses come from a culture of caring, characterized by concern and consideration for the whole person. Nurses recognize that patients are more than a set of symptoms that need to be treated; they look at the physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychosocial needs of the individual. What this ultimately means for patients is that nurses will listen to them, advocate for them, and provide the information they need to make informed decisions—and then support them in those decisions.

THE VALUE OF NURSING

Nursing is not only a partner to the manufacturer, specialty pharmacy, and payer, but in reality is actually becoming a customer of these entities rather than a cost of operation. The nurse’s ultimate value to these entities is patient loyalty.

To a manufacturer, the value of nursing is to assist the manufacturer in product branding. The patient recognizes the importance of the specialty nurse providing the specialty product. The patient is more apt to stay with that product due to the value-added nursing services provided by the manufacturer.

For the specialty pharmacy, the value of nursing assists in the gain of market share or referral base of the product being dispensed. The nurse provides administration and teaching on behalf of the specialty pharmacy. When the physician is satisfied with the total care provided by the specialty pharmacy, he or she may choose to refer more patients to that specialty pharmacy.

Payers are serious about controlling spending in specialty therapies. There is an increase in the demand for proof of value and benefits. Nurses provide therapy management through collection of patient data from all sites of care. Payers have access to this data, allowing for the validation of the benefits of therapy and proof of value.

Specialty nurses, nurse practitioners, and research clinicians all have unique perspectives on the many issues that are part of the current health care crisis. They understand the importance of controlling spending in specialty therapies and providing proof of value. As role models for the public, peers, and other health care professionals, nurses are often held to a higher standard. Patients and their families look to nurses to provide unbiased, calm, competent, and ethical care. Manufacturers, specialty pharmacies, and payers look to nurses to provide value-added services that promote customer loyalty to their products and services.

Cherylann Gregory, RN, BSN, is founder and president of the Specialty Pharmacy Nursing Network (SPNN). She has more than 30 years of experience as an oncology/ infusion nurse and combines her clinical knowledge with an entrepreneurial spirit. SPNN is one of the first specialty pharmacy nursing services to provide a nationwide network of 500 qualified nurses to meet the needs of specialty pharmacies and biotech manufacturers. The organization’s services include coordination of care, drug administration, first dosing, education, clinical outcome data collection and reporting, and on-call coverage for specialty therapies. Visit www.spnninc.org.