Article: Direct-to-Patient Services - What are the Benefits for the Patient?

By Jaime Sanchez |

Direct-to-Patient services can provide numerous benefits to stakeholders throughout the supply chain. In this article we focus our attention on the benefits received by the patient.   

The Direct-to-Patient (DtP) approach can make life easier for patients and their loved ones by accommodating flexible visits to ensure their schedules remain largely uninterrupted. Work, school and travel carry on as usual, making everyday lifestyles easier to maintain.

Here are seven reasons why manufacturers and sponsors are implementing DtP services to improve the patient experience: 

1. Convenience

Life presents enough of a challenge for those coping with a serious illness. Having to synchronize treatment schedules with available hospital times and dates is an unwelcome burden for patients and their caregivers. DtP means drug therapies can be delivered and administered in patients’ homes and patients can participate in clinical trials from home, when otherwise they might not have the option to consider treatment. 

2. Improved Accessibility

Patients living in suburban or rural locations may face lengthy travel times to receive treatment. This added stress leads some patients to choose alternative, more easily accessible treatments despite the potential benefits of the therapy in question. Some patients, unable to cope, drop out of studies or treatments entirely. DtP can reduce dropout rates.

3. Inclusion of a Potentially Broader Population Base

For patients unable to travel easily due to illness, age, physical immobility or other issues, the DtP model opens up new possibilities, allowing them to participate more easily in studies or receive treatments from the comfort of their home.

4.Patient Safety and Well-Being

For many patients – especially those with compromised immune systems – a hospital stay can introduce additional health risks.  Every year an estimated 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections during a hospital stay, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 75,000 people die each year as a result of hospital infections [1]. 

5.Financial Well-Being

Patients household incomes of under US $50,000 are 27% less likely to participate in clinical trials.[2] One of the potential reasons for these findings is that traveling for treatment can be a costly affair, exacerbated by the length of treatment time, travel distance and frequency of visits.

While it is unclear whether income considerations have the same impact on commercial therapies, bringing treatment into the home effectively removes not only unnecessary out-of-pocket travel expenses for the patient – gas, tolls, parking, public transport, flights, hotels and meals – but the potential liability of lost wages for both patients and caregivers, as well as the cost of any additional home support that might be required.

6. It’s Personal

For many patients, regular visits to hospital can be an intimidating experience. Patients may feel a lack of personal attention or a sense of being ‘lost in the crowd’.

In a DtP protocol, drug administration is performed as scheduled under the direct supervision of a fully trained and experienced home care nurse.

7. Quality of Life

Above all, the DtP model is a tool that empowers patients facing an uncertain future, giving them the flexibility to live life more fully. Is this not the very definition of patient-centricity?

Bringing certain medical procedures and protocols to the home could vastly improve the patient experience. To find out the value that DtP services could bring to your patients, please download our Direct-to-Patient Services ebook.

[1] Molassiotis, Alex, “Effectiveness of a Home Care Nursing Program in the Symptom Management of Patients With Colorectal and Breast Cancer Receiving Oral Chemotherapy: A Randomized, Controlled Trial,” Journal of Clinical Oncology, December 20, 2009, http://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/JCO.2008.20.6755

[2] Unger, Joseph M.; Gralow, Julie R.; Albain, Kathy S.; et al, “Patient Income Level and Cancer Clinical Trial Participation: A Prospective Survey Study”, JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(1):137-139. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2457394.

About the Author

Jaime Sanchez

Sales Manager & WEMEA lead for Direct-to-Patient
World Courier
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