How Covid-19 Has Changed Where and How We Manage Our Health

It’s been 8 months since the pandemic first changed, among other things, how we manage our health. We wanted to take a look how we the pandemic has changed where we manage our health.

Let's Look at the Pharmacy

 

Consumers are Returning to the Pharmacy

While not as dramatic as the split seen earlier in the year, the gap between retail and mail pharmacies started to widen again a few weeks ago.

But They May Not Be Returning to the Pharmacy as Often

As patients returned to the pharmacy, they also pivoted to extended, 3-month prescriptions. These trends should  positively impact adherence rates as one barrier can be removed.
 

We also see as more people turning to the pharmacy to receive the flu vaccine. In fact, we are seeing a large increase in flu vaccinations probably due to COVID-19. Data from IQVIA shows an increase of almost 100% from Aug. 7 through Oct. 2. From 12.6 million in 2019 to 23.5 million people in 2020.

Source: IQVIA

Home...The New Doctor's Office

 

We know that telehealth has changed the doctor visit dynamic forever. The rise of connected care has also enabled people to manage their conditions from their own homes. The cell phone has become the new medical device—from tracking congestive heart failure to monitoring oxygen saturation.


The FDA was out in front of this trend. In March 2020, the FDA announced it would allow expanded use of devices to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely to form the basis for treatment decisions. This covered a wide range of devices, from spirometers (which measures the volume of air inhaled and exhaled) to electroencephalographies (an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity  of the brain).

This policy is intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

As more patients turn to connected health and telehealth to manage their conditions, it’s important for pharma to define the role they play in assisting their patients and HCPs:

  • Helping prepare patients for their visit. Setting expectations for the virtual visit and help ensure they get the most from the virtual visit
  • Proving access to the tools or helpful resources to help monitor their condition remotely

 

Source: FDA

 

Staying With the Government (and Telemedicine)

 

With the rise of telemedicine, there are now more than 20 pieces of legislation currently with Congress that address a few key themes.

  • Medicare reimbursement: Ensure that telehealth visits continue to be covered with limited restrictions, including locations
  • Underserved communities: Help drive increased telehealth opportunities by investing in technology and by offering grants and funding
  • Mental health: Ensure coverage under the Social Security Act

 

There are also a few bills to study the impact of telemedicine which can have a huge impact on how telemedicine shapes the future. 

Source: American Telemed

 

We Have Seen Medical Claims from Telehealth Plataeu Over the Last Few Weeks

Across Indications, New-to-Brand  Prescriptions Are Being Generated In Office 

However, the data also show that more patients are getting refills through telehealth. Doctors may prefer to initiate new therapy in person because of access to diagnostics and labs.

Source: IQVIA

 

Patient Leakage Is a Concern for Healthcare Executives

 

Patient leakage refers to patients seeking medical care outside the healthcare provider’s network

The rise of urgent care centers helped meet the needs of patients who are looking for a more convenient way to manage their health. They also addressed the need of people that do not have primary care physicians. Now we have all seen how COVID-19 has impacted doctor office visits.

The rise of telehealth has created a new level of competition and put patient loyalty at risk. A new study from Central Logic illustrates the concern from healthcare executives: 

  • 96% of healthcare executives say patient leakage is a priority in 2020
  • 80% say addressing patient leakage has become more important as value-based payments have increased
  • Nearly 75% of healthcare executives say patient leakage is a significant obstacle to their financial goals

Source: Central Logic

Please contact your account leads or ross.quinn@fcb.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.