Specialty Pharmacies Honored for Exemplary Patient Support

Specialty Pharmacy Times2018 Asembia Recap
Volume 9
Issue 4

The Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award was created by Zitter Health Insights and Specialty Pharmacy Times in 2017 to honor specialty pharmacies and their commitment to patients.

The Specialty Pharmacy Choice Award was created by Zitter Health Insights and Specialty Pharmacy Times® in 2017 to honor specialty pharmacies and their commitment to patients. The criteria for this award were formulated by an external committee comprised of individuals representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, payers, trade organizations, consultants, and equity research firms.

Specialty pharmacies are eligible for either the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)/payer-based or non-PBM/payer-based award. Pharmacies are selected for a Patient Choice Award based on their average Net Promoter Score (NPS) from all 4 quarterly surveys conducted each calendar year. Last year’s winners were PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy for the non-PBM/payer-based category and US Specialty Care for the PBM/payer-based category.

The survey data are used to create a syndicated, actionable benchmarking report that helps to assess patient satisfaction across multiple therapeutic categories, which, in turn, enables pharmacies to meet accrediting requirements and evaluate their performances against that of their competitors. In addition to the survey, a committee of specialty pharmacy experts provided valuable insights into launching the awards program.

2018 Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award Finalists: NON-PBM/PAYER-BASED


PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Rare and orphan diseases

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy is extremely honored and humbled to be recognized for the second consecutive year as a finalist for the Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Awards. No other measure means more to us, not business growth nor profitability. Our involvement in the Zitter Health patient surveys has afforded us a temporal validation that our mission to redefine the level of care provided in specialty pharmacy is being recognized by the rare disease patients whom we serve on a daily basis. However, being a finalist is a not an acknowledgement of a reaching destination, but a recognition of sustainable progress along our journey. PANTHERx has invested, and continues to invest, heavily in improving patient outcomes, which include both patient satisfaction and improved health.

What role does patient satisfaction play a part in your operation?

From PANTHERx’s inception, the founding partners designed an organization whose culture was patient-centric, just as it was when the specialty pharmacy industry was created over 35 years ago. PANTHERx’s guiding philosophy, “Focus on the patient, and the rest will follow,” a derivation of Google’s number one value, permeates all components of our operation. Patient satisfaction plays a direct role in a patient’s willingness to remain adherent to their specialty therapies and become further engaged with the high level of clinical care that we provide. Our commitment to patient satisfaction doesn’t end with clinical care, however; it is interwoven into every aspect of our business, including financial counseling, quality improvement, accreditation, technology, business development, budgeting, growth, and importantly, human resources and talent management.

How would you be able to leverage your nomination for this award to educate and inform patients?

We feel that being the 2017 recipient of the award and our recent nomination, along with our consistently high NPS ratings from the Zitter Health Insights survey, are a testament to what we’re doing well at PANTHERx. There’s no doubt that we’re proud of this nomination. We must use it as affirmation of our ongoing commitment to improve satisfaction, not simply as a pat on the back for what we’ve done thus far. Our goal is to use it as a catalyst to dig deeper and more broadly to find out what is making our patients satisfied and dissatisfied, and quickly develop and implement corrective plans. Promoting this recognition as a self-affirmation could polarize patients if they are not satisfied but using it as an opportunity to show that we want to learn more about our patients would be a testament to our true goal of maximizing patient satisfaction.

ORGANIZATION: Elwyn Pharmacy Group

PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Hematology, transplant, neurology, immunology, infertility, oncology and more.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

Elwyn Pharmacy Group and BioMatrix Specialty Pharmacy were founded on patient care principles. This recognition validates the work our company does to create a family environment for our chronic care customers.

How does your organization focus on customer service?

Why is that important to your organization? Why is it important to the industry? The practice of pharmacy begins with the customer relationship. We focus on that relationship through being accessible 24/7/365 and welcoming all questions, comments and concerns. We teach, listen, and respond in a manner that ensures a clear understanding regarding the importance of self-care and medication adherence for achieving better health. A strong focus on customer service and support is important for the industry because of the impact it can have on outcomes.

What 3 things contribute to your success in the area of patient satisfaction?

Three factors for our success include a staff committed to the welfare of our customers; constant follow up and availability, and the accuracy of our work from intake through delivery.

ORGANIZATION: Providence Health & Services; Credena Health, LLC

PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, fertility, hemophilia, hepatitis C, Crohn disease, psoriasis, and growth hormone deficiencies.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

As a specialty pharmacy provider within a large integrated delivery system, we have built our clinical service levels and prided ourselves on providing high-touch, high-value quality service to our patients and members. Although we have always enjoyed positive feedback from those we serve, as well as our referral sources, it is very gratifying and validating to be recognized among the best of the best of our peer organizations in this market segment. This provides an additional level of confidence that the vision we have set and the performance expectations we have implemented are absolutely directionally correct and furthers our vision of providing a connected experience of care for those we serve.

What role does patient satisfaction play a part in your operation?

Patient satisfaction is a guidepost to give us feedback as to whether the operational, quality, and service standards we have built and put into place are having an impact for those we serve. This is how we measure whether all of the planning, resource allocation, personnel recruitment and management, and implementation are achieving the desired outcomes for the end consumer. This is where the rubber meets the road. Patients are at the center of every decision that we make and our primary goal is to ensure that they experience the best possible care and customer service that we can provide.

In general, how can patient satisfaction be improved?

We believe that we can improve Credena Health’s customer satisfaction by listening to our patients. We receive valuable patient insights through frequent phone conversations throughout the work of serving each patient. With some regularity, Credena Health receives unsolicited phone calls and emails thanking our staff for their work. Because Credena Health cares about each patient’s experience, we are planning to open up additional channels for our patients to submit their thoughts online. With all of these avenues of collecting patient feedback, we believe we can further refine and develop our operations to achieve new levels of satisfaction, loyalty, and, in turn, clinical effectiveness with our patients.

ORGANIZATION: BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy

PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Hepatitis C, oncology, immune- mediated inflammatory, and multiple sclerosis.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

Our company is built upon a guiding foundation of core values that touch our long-term plans and steer our daily decisions. We call it CART: competence, accountability, respect, and trust. CART serves as measures of how we work with one another, how we interact with our patients and customers, and even how we communicate with our competitors. Our aspiration is that prescribers, payers, pharma, patients, accrediting bodies, and regulators would agree that our performance reflects the highest tiers of those CART values.

What is an interesting fact about your organization that is little known?

BioPlus created and maintains a secured employee portal that allows us to share stories that our patients and customers have provided about how their lives were changed by an employee or an action. The stories don’t provide names but share a struggle that was overcome. These stories are rewards that continue to feed an organization that is yearning to improve and to lead in excellence.

What is the most rewarding aspect of operating a specialty pharmacy?

You can enrich someone’s life today. Patients often need another advocate after they receive their diagnosis. Sometimes they find that person in the busy physician’s office or perhaps it’s a well-informed caregiver. Often, however, it’s a new friend from BioPlus that called them shortly after they left the physician’s office to let them know how we are navigating the insurance process, what portion of the co-pay we have already found funding for, or how quickly they can start treatment. Those are empowering steps that should be expected of every specialty pharmacy and they are certainly steps that BioPlus takes every day for our patients.

ORGANIZATION: Senderra Specialty Pharmacy

PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Immunology (rheumatoid arthritis, dermatology)

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

Our mission is based on our core belief that patients are people, and that health care is best delivered through a personal relationship, and not a transaction. Therefore, being a finalist is great recognition for all Senderra team members that we are demonstrating our mission daily, and our patients acknowledge and appreciate our culture.

How does your organization focus on customer service?

Why is that important to your organization? Why is it important to the industry? Customer service is at the core of both our mission and business model. Our patients choose to use Senderra as their specialty pharmacy because they trust our expertise and service. As an industry, we need to realize that customer service and better outcomes are uniquely coupled. Customer service is a key driver of proper compliance and adherence, patient education, and clinical outcomes.

What is an interesting fact about your organization that is little known?

Our name, Senderra, comes from the movie “Lonesome Dove.”

2018 Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award Finalists: PBM/PAYER-BASED

ORGANIZATION: Humana Specialty Pharmacy

PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Cancer, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn disease.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

Humana Specialty Pharmacy considers it an honor to be a finalist in the Zitter 2018 Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Awards. Our number one focus is on our customers, and it is our promise to continually evolve so they consider us a health care partner committed to helping them achieve their best health, providing them with the latest treatment options and offering easy entry into our clinical programs. For more than 50 years, Humana has developed a reputation for innovation in delivering and coordinating high-quality care, and this continues to be at the root of who we are. High consumer satisfaction raises our own standard for Humana Specialty Pharmacy to provide customers a high-quality experience centered- around what they want and need in a manner that is easily accessible.

In general, how can patient satisfaction be improved?

Patient satisfaction is improved when you use the information garnered as an opportunity for continuous improvement. As a business, you can never assume you’re doing everything right in the eyes of the customer. Just because we believe we are performing well doesn’t mean the customer agrees. Studying insights learned through customer feedback allows us to implement change. We’ve learned we must have empathy for our customers. We are initiating a framework for focusing on the consumer, called the Feedback Loop, to ensure patient needs are always addressed. Patient satisfaction efforts are never done. It must be a continual focus and adjustment.

What is an interesting fact about your organization that is little known?

Humana Specialty Pharmacy abandonment rate is only 4.5%. Humana works aggressively to get the patients the medication they need by having a disease management team member reach out to the patient once we receive a prescription. Our job is to get the patient through the process quickly while providing guidance along the way. We have clinical nurses who are experts in specialty conditions that provide a personalized experience to each patient. We remain by the patient’s side throughout their treatment.


PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, HIV, hepatitis C, psoriasis, and oncology.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

Clinical care is in our DNA and patient satisfaction is always our top priority. At US Specialty Care, we know we’re not just filling prescriptions. We believe that every interaction counts—no matter how small–and we go out of our way to help our members be successful. This recognition is a tremendous honor to us because it demonstrates that our patients understand that our employees are going the extra mile to optimize their health and ensure their satisfaction.

What role does patient satisfaction play a part in your operation?

Patient satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do because it translates into increased engagement, higher adherence rates, and improved clinical outcomes. We believe that no matter how small something may seem on the surface, everything we do should have a meaningful, positive impact on our patients. From the first intake appointment, we do everything we can to put our patients’ minds at ease so they can concentrate on their health.

What is the most rewarding aspect of operating a specialty pharmacy?

Operating a specialty pharmacy enables us to provide a level of care that we wouldn’t be able to offer in a retail pharmacy. We get to really know each of our patients and understand their strengths and challenges. We are able to create customized treatment plans that build upon our patients’ real lives, schedules, and support networks. We consider it a privilege and honor to partner with each of them to manage their health.


PRIMARY DISEASE STATE: Cystic fibrosis, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other conditions.

What does being a finalist mean to your organization?

First and foremost, we’re honored and humbled by the recognition. AcariaHealth is dedicated to enhancing the patient care offering through collaboration with all stakeholders, from patients to providers, so being a finalist is a positive indication that our daily work to serve patients is truly making an impact.

How do you maintain your patient satisfaction moving forward?

From account management to analytics to cutting-edge technology, the focus of our strategy is, and always will be, the patient. AcariaHealth will work hard to maintain our patient satisfaction by keeping our focus on what’s important—serving the patient.

What is an interesting fact about your organization that is little known?

From the start, AcariaHealth has focused on providing the best care at the lowest cost to our patients. In fact, the name of our company reflects this focus. Acaria is the combination of two words—accurate and care. We’re accurate in every detail and hold the highest standards of excellence in everything we do. We care about patients, and we keep them at the very core of what we do.

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