Using Retail Home Delivery and Transportation Benefits to Support Adherence
Recently, two partnerships were announced that center on supporting medical appointment transportation needs – one between Uber and Cerner, and another between Lyft and Florida Blue. Both Uber and Lyft are deepening their penetration in medical transportation services, which was previously dominated by more specialized transportation companies. Clearly, getting to a medical appointment is important, but for many people, the need to travel to a pharmacy to pick up medications occurs on a more frequent basis.
Throughout the country, the availability of free home delivery for medications is sporadic, so if a patient has a transportation challenge, how is he or she going to receive their medications? Over the last several years, the large retail chains (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, et al) have been testing and rolling out delivery options (often with a customer charge), but if you are a health plan with a large and varied population, when is covering a retail pharmacy delivery benefit a positive use of your support budget, and how do you structure the benefit so that it positively impacts adherence levels?
As an example, in a JAMA Intern Med study published last year, a rideshare based transportation service had only a minimal impact on missed appointments (36.5% missed for those who were offered the ride vs. 36.7% missed for the control arm). It is therefore critical to appropriately target patients who will be more inclined to realize a benefit from the offering, otherwise the offering is not cost-effective in supporting patients’ needs.
While the most precise way to understand patient needs is to directly ask the patients, contacting all non-adherent patients can be prohibitive; therefore, we should look to predict who will need this benefit and target specific outreach to them. Even if the transportation or home delivery benefit is widely available, encouraging enrollment for those predicted to need the help the most, and who will be more inclined to utilize the benefit, is much more efficient.
Predictive analytics that leverages artificial intelligence can sift through your patient data and determine where your resources should be deployed, thus balancing your patients’ needs with efficiently using your resources.
READ MORE ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS AND THE JAMA INTERN MED STUDY HERE:
“Cerner, Uber partner on medical transport” – Published online October 28, 2019
“Florida Blue and Lyft Team Up to Offer Rides to Doctor’s Appointments” – Published online November 1, 2019
“Association of Rideshare-Based Transportation Services and Missed Primary Care Appointments: A Clinical Trial.” – Published online March 2018
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