From Patient Flows to Patient Support Programs (PSPs)

Five years ago, I started working at Möbius. It seems like only yesterday, although a lot has changed. When I started my career in the healthcare sector, we were talking about patient flows. Today, Patient Support Programs (PSPs) are getting introduced in literature and sometimes even in practice. But how did we get there? What value do these PSPs bring? Furthermore, what is needed to design such a program?
Thomas Dewulf

During the past 5 years, I have seen the healthcare sector evolve rapidly. More focus on patient needs, digitization, efficiency, financing of care … But what struck me the most is the more integrated approach to patient careConcepts such as Value Based Healthcare gain in importance. Value Based Healthcare focuses on maximizing the value of care and reducing healthcare costs. Projects no longer revolve around optimizing a single patient flow, they tackle a broader range of topics:  

  • Who are the stakeholders of the care pathway – both within and outside the healthcare sector – who play an important role and whom we should include? 
  • How can we optimally organize the care pathway and the involvement of the different stakeholders? 
  • What is the total cost of ownership for all stakeholders and throughout the entire care pathway?  
  • What is the ultimate goal and outcome we want to achieve and how do we track reaching this goal 
  • How do patients and their surroundings experience the entire healthcare process? 
  • How can we build bridges, in other words, make optimal use of networks and the expertise available within these networks? 
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Influenced by concepts like Value Based Healthcare, e.g. the design and optimization of the patient flow in, oncological day hospitals evolve into the design of Patient Support Programs (for more information on patient pathways in oncology, read this blog from my colleague Sarah Misplon). Patient Support Programs (PSPs) focus on supporting the patient from diagnosis to treatment via one or more care pathways and ultimately to the clinical outcome. Such PSPs can lead to significant benefits for both the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, but above all for the patient (more on the benefits of PSPs can be found in this article):  

  • Therapy adherence: Follow-up of the patient by means of PSPs leads to increased therapy adherence. The patient is more involved in the care process and continues to follow the treatment prescribed by a physician more accurately and for a longer period of time. 
  • Healthcare use: Setting up PSPs ensures increased flexibility in planning healthcare activities and clear agreements on roles and responsibilities. This leads to a more efficient use of the currently available resources and more qualitative care. 
  • Clinical outcome: The patient receives personalized care tailored to his/her needs. 

Setting up PSPs requires investments from both the healthcare and pharmaceutical/MedTech sector. In my opinion, the following elements are key for the successful planning and implementation of a PSP: 

  • Insight in the complete patient journey and patient lifecycle with focus on the care pathway from diagnosis to clinical outcome, interactions with the different stakeholders and insights in the needs of both patient and care provider. 
  • A thorough knowledge of the healthcare and pharmaceutical/Medtech sector, including the challenges, opportunities and relationships to the care pathways. The current ongoing projects concerning the financing of care provide opportunities to redesign the current care pathways (Read for example the project on the structural redesign of the nomenclature of medical services provided by doctors). 
  • Collaboration and communication between the various stakeholders with a focus on results, including a feedback loop to the various stakeholders reporting on PROMs (Patient Reported Outcome Measures) and PREMs (Patient Reported Experience Measures). 
  • Focus on transparency: transparency between healthcare provider and patients regarding their care pathway and medical records increases the value for the patient (interesting read on this topic). 

It is clear that setting up Patient Support Programs is a cross-sector topic and cooperation between the different stakeholders will be essential.  

I am curious to see how healthcare will continue to evolve over the next five years, but above all, I am curious about today’s challenges. What role do you play in setting up PSPs? What challenges do you face today?  

Let us know! 

Thanks for reading

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