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Reimagining health equity with alternate sites of care

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Article

ASOCs are ushering in significant benefits for patients, shifting the healthcare paradigm to favorably impact care, cost, and communication.

heart stethoscope | © lenetsnikolai - stock.adobe.com

© lenetsnikolai - stock.adobe.com

As a tsunami-sized wave of digital business and technology transformation sweeps across the healthcare industry, patients are seeking avenues of alternate care that assimilate seamlessly into their already busy day-to-day lives. In an attempt to answer this call – and provide equitable access to care, healthcare manufacturers have developed alternate sites of care (ASOCs). These sites are designed to provide healthcare access to patients outside of the traditional physician office-based setting.

ASOCs have experienced growth across several key specialty pharmacy therapeutic distribution networks, including oncology, immunology, substance abuse, pain, and the central nervous system (CNS).

This emerging trend is ushering in significant benefits for patients, shifting the healthcare paradigm to favorably impact care, cost, and communication.

Care

Across the healthcare sector, patients are seeking increased points of access and opportunities to incorporate additional layers of care that drive better healthcare outcomes. Many patient support teams have seized this gap in the market as an opportunity to address the issues that exacerbate healthcare disparities.

This is where ASOCs come in, as they can offer an improved, more holistic patient journey by addressing issues related to therapeutic access, as well as education, food, social connections, and information that supports continued care plans.

These sites are particularly beneficial for both younger and racially and ethnically diverse populations, who indicate a stronger need for reliable healthcare environments. These ASOCs curate more personalized care, resembling customer experience (CX) efforts across industries such as retail, banking, and beyond.

Cost

The rising cost of medical care remains a largely unsolved problem in the United States healthcare landscape. As a result, leading healthcare manufacturers have begun to invest heavily in patient data, commercial sales force teams, and patient support programs to address cost as a barrier to therapeutic adoption and adherence.

ASOCs are well poised to reduce the burden of cost for many key stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem. For healthcare professionals (HCPs), ASOCs deliver easier ways to navigate billing issues and typically have higher reimbursement parameters. For patients, access to care outside of a physician’s office acts as a “right sized” model that fits their lifestyle, provides diverse care, and introduces opportunities to incorporate additional avenues of cost reduction in their healthcare journey. Finally, for insurance companies, otherwise known as payers, ASOCs serve as more affordable sites of outpatient care that also provide access to key activities that have long-term cost impacts.

By investing in ASOCs, the healthcare industry is opening up the distribution networks for products. These sites offer streamlined billing for healthcare providers and patients, significantly reducing payer-related obstacles. Similarly, the analysis of anonymized patient data is a key area of focus for the medical industry, as manufacturers and payers leverage data-driven opportunities to promote increased access and lower cost of care.

Communication

Beyond the care and cost benefits, ASOCs can also be leveraged as a centralized hub of communication.

More specifically, integrated medical technologies are transforming the way in which hospitals, healthcare centers, and care providers communicate with each other and their patients. An increased level of proactive and prescriptive communication from HCPs builds patient trust, which has been identified as a major barrier for individuals seeking care.

Consumer and community trust in the broader healthcare ecosystem is critical for patient engagement, as trust influences patients’ willingness to get medical care, preventive screenings, and mental health care.

Trust between HCPs and patients has also been linked to improved patient experience, health outcomes, and the patient’s perception of the care they receive.

What’s further, visibility into real-time patient healthcare risk assessments and milestones allows the broader healthcare ecosystem stakeholders several new opportunities to connect with patients, including:

  • To drive therapy compliance
  • To enable proactive messaging to patients on opportunities to promote adherence
  • To adopt a collaborative approach to ensure better outcomes for patients

The benefits of ASOCs are only starting to be realized and will continue to evolve with new technologies. For example, enterprises have begun leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) applications to enhance the ASOC distribution model.

These AI applications, including generative AI, allow for predictive and prescriptive patient level communication and outreach, which can be focused on high-risk patient populations for certain therapeutic areas that are most often correlated with increased levels of non-compliance.

By integrating digital and behavioral health with cloud-based data assets and ASOC patient level data, HCPs and patient service organizations can develop a robust framework to ensure that patients are initiated into treatment faster and get the care outcomes that they deserve.

Sheetal Chawla is Head of Life Sciences, Head of Northeast Region, Capgemini Americas and Shivani Patel, Practice Lead, Q360 Data Aggregation Solutions, Capgemini Americas

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