As a health care provider, your commitment to improving the health of your patients doesn’t stop when they leave your office. This is especially true when it comes to treating patients with serious or complex diseases, who likely receive support from other health care providers.
That’s why it’s important to understand the role of specialty pharmacies and how they differ from retail pharmacies. Learn why these distinctions are important, as well as what specialty pharmacy resources are available to your patients.
How do they differ?
Most people are familiar with a retail pharmacy — one that is located in their community and fills prescriptions that treat common health conditions such as high blood pressure or infections.
In contrast, specialty pharmacies distribute medications that are often high cost, require more clinical support and may even need special handling or administration (like injectable therapies). In doing so, they offer clinical services that go above and beyond what retail pharmacies provide.
Specialty pharmacy resources for patients
People with rare or complex conditions need specialized support. While retail pharmacies may offer convenience, specialty pharmacies act as true partners in patient care. The highest-touch specialty pharmacies provide proactive outreach to patients, guiding them through their treatment — from sourcing financial assistance to providing ongoing clinical support.
Specialty pharmacy patient assistance
To ensure patients adhere to their treatment plans, take their medications as directed and have the best possible health outcomes, specialty pharmacy resources include a whole host of patient assistance, including:
Treatment support and education — Specialty pharmacists and specialty pharmacy support staff have disease-specific training for conditions like multiple sclerosis, oncology, hepatitis, autoimmune disorders and more. This means they can provide adherence support, education, injection training and clinical counseling.
Care planning — Taking a specialty medication can be overwhelming, but specialty pharmacy staff who are highly knowledgeable and trained in specific disease states can help. They work to identify what types of proactive outreach, support and side effect management are most helpful, and provide personalized consultations based on this care plan.
Financial assistance — Because specialty medications are expensive, patients may need help paying for their out-of-pocket costs. Specialty pharmacy experts can direct patients to foundation assistance, vouchers, copay cards and other types of financial help.