Pharmacists Have a New, Active Role in Patient-Reported Outcomes

Pharmacists can play a more active role in educating patients on tools and resources available to them, enrolling patients in programs, gathering subjective and objective data.

Pharmacists are increasingly playing an active role in the collection of patient-reported outcomes and the use of real-world evidence, according to a session at the Asembia 2022 Specialty Pharmacy Summit.

Real-world data are information related to patients’ health status or the delivery of health care, according to presenter Alexandra Broadus, PharmD, senior director of specialty health solutions at Walgreens. These data are routinely collected from a variety of sources and go hand-in-hand with real-world evidence, which is clinical evidence about the use and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from real-world data.

The importance of real-world data is reflected in policies and laws, including the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law in 2016. Designed to accelerate product development and get innovations to patients more quickly, the act uses real-world data and created a framework for evaluating the use of real-world evidence to support the approval of a new indication for a drug that has already been approved.

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are an important piece of real-world data, Broadus said. PROs are any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient. These outcomes can be measured in absolute terms, such as severity of a symptom, or as a change from a previous measure.

After introducing the role of PROs in clinical research and innovations, the panelists discussed some examples within their own organizations of how pharmacists are involved in gathering insights. Pharmacists can play a more active role in several ways, including by educating patients on tools and resources available to them, enrolling patients in programs, gathering subjective and objective data, and taking action in near real time based on PROs via digital solutions.

Alex Whitehead, senior director of strategy and operations at Treatment Technologies and Insights (TTI), discussed a partnership program between TTI and Walgreens to better engage, monitor, and improve outcomes for patients taking oral oncolytic medications. The technological piece of the partnership involves connecting a platform with artificial intelligence-driven patient apps and a corresponding pharmacist care portal.

Through this partnership, Whitehead said synthesized reports are available to health providers and pharmacists to summarize patients’ experiences. An app also allows patients to report things that make them feel better or worse on a day-to-day basis, better enabling providers to respond quickly to patient challenges.

Pharmacists’ roles in this program include offering it to patients at applicable touchpoints, reviewing patient engagement and reports before scheduled interactions with the patient, and conducting informed consults.

Panelist Melanie Radi, PharmD, manager of clinical programs and specialty clinical services at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, further discussed pharmacists’ roles in collecting and interpreting PRO data. The Connected Care Program is a PRO algorithm-driven clinical program, and she noted that all PROs and counseling provided to patients are documented in the patient profile.

As part of the program, pharmacists will conduct an initial call with the patient to discuss personal information, an initial assessment, the prescription order, and the patient’s communication preferences. Refill calls are also conducted as proactive outreach, and cover adverse effects, potential adherence issues, and changes to the patient’s symptoms or condition.

All of the panelists agreed that including PROs in addition to more objective, clinical data points can have significant benefits. Importantly, Radi said PROs help to individualize care, which is vital in the patient journey and helps patients feel heard and understood.

“It empowers those patients, I think, to really take control of their care and to be an advocate for themselves, knowing they have the support of their specialty pharmacist as they go through this journey,” Radi said.

REFERENCE

Broadus A, Radi M, Bourret J, Whitehead A. Pharmacist Evolution: Introducing a New, More Active Role from Patient Reported Outcomes to Developing Insights. May 4, 2022. Presented at Asembia 2022 Specialty Pharmacy Summit.