News

Patient-First Strategy Optimizes Therapeutic Value of Specialty Drugs for Patients with Rare Cancers

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National Cancer Survivors Month June 2022

This June 2022, National Cancer Survivors Month, Optime Care joins other leading healthcare organizations to recognize cancer survivors, raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face and celebrate life.
With nearly 17 million people living with cancer in the U.S. today – and more than 43 million cancer survivors worldwide – everyone is touched in some way by cancer.

We also want to highlight the benefits of Optime Care’s patient-first approach for rare oncology patients. We put the patient at the center of care to address their specific issues and improve outcomes and quality of life.

Challenges for Rare Cancer Patients

Rare cancers comprise a multitude of cancer types affecting an array of patient populations. We believe that a one-size-fits-all approach is insufficient to address all their needs and prefer to tailor our care based upon each patient’s unique needs and aspects of each rare cancer.

Our approach to specialty oncology pharmacy management is designed to reduce costs, increase specialty drug availability and improve patient outcomes through appropriate medication therapy management.

Optime Care’s Enhanced Patient Care Management

We begin by ensuring prescription accuracy, compliance, adherence to treatment and side effects management, and by offering counseling, guidance and education based upon each patient and caregiver’s particular requirements.
With effective management of the complications of chronic illness and rare cancers, our team strives to mitigate unnecessary costs, and provide the best possible clinical outcomes and patient experience.

This National Cancer Survivors Month, join us by taking action to increase public awareness and improve the lives of cancer survivors.

To learn more visit here.

People With Rare Diseases Face Challenges, Require Support

By | Articles

In the U.S., orphan diseases are conditions impacting fewer than 200,000 people. There are more than 7,000 of these rare conditions affecting an estimated 30 million Americans — and more than 300 million people globally — and new diseases continue to be discovered. Most of them are inherited conditions caused by gene mutations, but some can be caused by environmental factors. These diseases may be serious and even life-threatening, and about half of them affect children.

Before the Orphan Drug Act was passed in 1983, not much research was done into treatments for rare diseases. But that law created financial incentives for pharmaceutical manufacturers, and since then, hundreds of orphan drugs have been developed. As of early 2020, the FDA had approved therapies for more than 800 rare diseases.

Still, much work remains to be done in this space. Many of these conditions can be difficult to diagnose, with people often experiencing symptoms for years before they receive a correct diagnosis.

AIS Health, a division of MMIT, recently spoke with Brandon Salke, Pharm.D., pharmacist-in-charge at Optime Care, Inc., a pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization focused on maximizing opportunities to treat rare diseases, about challenges people with rare diseases may face and how health care stakeholders can best support these patients.

AIS Health: What challenges do people with rare diseases face?

Salke: Rare disease patients face a much longer therapy journey because of their rare condition, beginning with obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Doctors typically have very few rare disease patients and are unfamiliar with most rare conditions.

Once the patient does obtain an accurate diagnosis, another challenge is finding the right specialty therapy for their needs. In most cases, there may be only one exclusive distributor of medications which treat rare diseases. Patients may also face potential insurance coverage issues, creating yet another barrier to care and delaying the start to therapy.

AIS Health: Could you please explain the diagnosis challenge in more detail?

Salke: Patients deal with considerable confusion around their symptoms and can go years without the correct diagnosis. This can mean a lot of frustration and heartbreak for patients and families. Also, many rare diseases exhibit symptoms that mimic more common diseases. The long diagnosis process involves the patient seeing several doctors and specialists and getting blood samples and MRIs that only rule out what the condition is not, without determining what it is. Beyond diagnosis, patients need additional resources and community support to help them throughout the remainder of their patient journey so they can experience successful outcomes.

AIS Health: What roles do the physician, specialist and pharmacist play in getting patients actively involved in their treatment?

Salke: Every clinical stakeholder takes responsibility for engaging the patient in their therapy. In turn, the patient can only get from the care program what they put into it. If they are lax about their therapy and don’t share information with the care team, then they may not experience optimal clinical outcomes.

For that reason, it’s important that there be a consistent message across all stakeholders about the patient’s involvement, which is critical in the specialty space. When all stakeholders are working together toward the same goal, communication is able to be streamlined for all parties involved so that every part of the process becomes more efficient in terms of obtaining prior authorization approvals, lab work needed and so forth. There should also be effective communication with health plans regarding clinical outcomes or other statistics so they can determine if the therapy is effective or not.

The overall goal is to ensure that the patient is compliant with their therapy. This entails keeping the patient actively involved and aware of the benefits of doing so for their health and well-being.

AIS Health: How can the care team better engage the patient?

Salke: They should ensure the patient has clear expectations about being onboarded at a specialty pharmacy, as well as with their treatment journey. This helps to ensure there is alignment as to everyone’s role in relation to follow-up and patient communication. Patient advocacy and support groups are also an excellent way to keep the patient engaged and informed about their treatment and to feel heard about what they are going through. Everything we’re discussing also includes caregiver engagement, where applicable.

AIS Health: How can this approach impact patient outcomes, both mentally and physically?

Salke: Someone with a rare disease will have a good idea if they are improving physically, which will lead to mental relief and less stress. Once they are in a patient-first care program, they will feel like they are in good hands, which takes a great deal of pressure and worry off of their shoulders. Patient-first care focuses on following up and monitoring patient progress and needs with consistent contact and reassessments based on key points in therapy.

AIS Health: What missteps might stakeholders make with rare disease patients, and what can they do differently?

Salke: One of the biggest missteps is the doctor will write a prescription, and the patient will take it to Walgreens or another retail pharmacy. And Walgreens says they can’t sell it, so the patient and their doctor may think the treatment is unavailable and that there is no option for care. For many specialty drugs for rare diseases, doctors can spend hours researching pharmacies which have access to specific treatments, which may only be available through limited distribution.

AIS Health: How can resistance to the patient-first mindset be overcome?

Salke: With patient-first, every decision has to be made based on how it will benefit the patient. For some this may take some adjustment or a different approach to health care. For example, in the case of a busy clinic or pharmacy filling a script, they may not have time to think about each and every individual patient who comes through the door. To adopt a patient-first approach, there has to be an understanding of each particular rare disease and the unique needs of the patient.

Additionally, what works for one patient population with a rare disease doesn’t automatically work for another patient population. Different groups of patients are impacted by culture and a host of other social determinants, which must be accounted for to achieve optimal care.

AIS Health: What are potential outcomes without a patient-first approach?

Salke: I suppose you’d see lower compliance and retention utilization, along with more nonadherence and less than optimal outcomes. Patients won’t feel as invested in their treatment. Let’s say they are only dealing with a retail pharmacy that treats them more like a quota than a person. Or their only contact with a health care professional for weeks might be a robocall about a medication delivery or pick up. Or the patient has to make a complicated call to get the medication, which deters them from remaining compliant.

When patients don’t feel like their needs are being met, it creates barriers to care. These are challenging to overcome once the patient has made up their mind.

AIS Health: What is the potential impact of this beyond patients?

Salke: This impacts their work productivity and leads to lower performance or absence from work, which affects employers. When they stop their medications and feel sicker, they won’t or can’t work. And their health care costs go up. So now we’re looking at increased costs to the payers. Also, the patient will be facing all that anxiety about their health, leading to exacerbations. It becomes this vicious cycle when patients don’t have the proper therapy for their rare disease. This is where companies need a specialty drug management partner with a patient-first approach to help overcome these challenges and ensure that plan members are getting the care and support they need.

For more information, contact Salke through Julianne Kearns at jkearns@cpronline.com.

by Angela Maas

The win-win-win of the patient-first model

By | Articles

Tiffany Burt
President and Chief Operating Officer
Optime Care

Imagine you’ve just been diagnosed with a disease so rare, only a handful of patients have it. Few physicians are aware of the condition, much less have any direct experience treating it. You’ve been prescribed a new medication, and you’re anxious. You have questions, and your only way to answer them is to call an 800 number. There, you’re transferred time and again until (hopefully) you find someone who can help. The next time you call, you start all over again. You’re already dealing with the stress of your diagnosis—and now, you realize that the stress will only get worse as you start treatment.

This is the experience that awaits far too many rare and orphan disease patients as they engage with the traditional patient services model. Built for large patient populations, it doesn’t have the flexibility to provide the individual care that patients with rare and orphan diseases need. Instead of finding comfort, patients can feel isolated and frustrated.

The patient-first model solves this problem by understanding that patient needs must take priority over all else. Acting on this fundamental truth and providing white-glove service not only benefits patients, but also providers and manufacturers as well. It’s a classic win-win-win.

A Win for Patients

Patients with rare and orphan diseases can become lost in the healthcare system for many, many years, moving from one physician to the next as they seek the proper diagnosis. Placing them in a traditional patient services model runs the risk of losing them in yet another system.

When patients are the center of the care model, their individual needs are more readily recognized and met. A perfect example is how our Optime Care’s patient care coordinators proactively ask if the patient would like to speak to a pharmacist. That can make all the difference to a patient who’s anxious but may be reluctant to ask for help. Our pharmacists are trained specifically on the particular disease and medication, so they can walk patients through what to expect. The result can be more satisfied, compliant patients with better outcomes.

A win for manufacturers

When the patient population is in the hundreds—or even less—every patient matters all the time. From a commercialization standpoint, the manufacturer can’t afford to lose a single one.

The patient-first model addresses the challenge by providing a team of patient care coordinators dedicated exclusively to the brand, the therapy and its patients. With deep knowledge of the rare or orphan disease—and how to support patients with it—the Optime Care team develops the most effective patient care plan to support commercial success. Then the team tailors care for the individual needs of each patient. The personal attention helps ensure patients remain compliant even when there are roadblocks, such as side effects that could otherwise encourage patients to drop off.

For manufacturers, there are other benefits of having a dedicated care team as well, such as getting patients on the medication faster by streamlining the prior authorization approval process.

A win for healthcare providers

I mentioned earlier that many healthcare providers may have never had first-hand experience diagnosing a particular rare or orphan disease. With the patient-first model, the dedicated care team can help close the knowledge gap, so the physician can make more informed decisions.

In addition, the care team supports the physician’s office staff by helping to relieve the administrative burden of prior authorizations, appeals and other tasks. This support helps ensure patients can start the therapy as quickly as possible—and keep them compliant—to support the physician’s care plan for achieving quality outcomes.

As I said, the patient-first model is a classic win-win-win, with patients at the heart of every conversation. Many patients have said to us, “I wish you could provide all my medications.” To us, that is the greatest validation that the patient-first model works best for those with rare and orphan diseases.

3 Ways The Patient-First Strategy Simplifies Regulatory Compliance

By | Articles

Brandon Salke
Pharmacist in Charge, General Manager of Operations
Optime Care

The FDA establishes strict regulations to help ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of medications.

For rare and orphan drug manufacturers, the patient-first model simplifies compliance with major regulatory challenges — including Black Box Warnings, REMS and DSCSA.

1. Black Box Warnings (or Boxed Warnings)

These are the FDA’s highest safety warnings to make patients aware of the serious or even life-threatening risks of certain medications. Hundreds of drugs have Black Box Warnings—such as antidepressants, which can cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors. When a medication has a Black Box Warning, it’s critical that the patient is made aware and follows any instructions.

The foundation of the patient-first approach is communication and building strong, lasting rapport with patients. With this personal relationship established, the specialty pharmacy can better educate patients — and they’ll be more inclined to understand and manage the implications of the Black Box Warning.

2. Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS)

These are FDA drug safety programs to help ensure the proper use of medications with serious patient safety concerns. REMS programs help manage risk by establishing procedures for the drug’s safe administration, which can include:

• Additional provider and patient education
• Entering prescription information in an online registry

• Extra precautions to manage potential adverse events — such as administering the medication only in a facility that can provide the necessary interventional care during an adverse event
• In the most extreme cases, requiring additional lab work before prescriptions can be filled

For example, let’s say a medication is known to cause significant birth defects. Per the drug’s REMS, the prescribing physician must confirm that the patient isn’t pregnant before giving the prescription to the specialty pharmacy. The REMS would include a rigid, step-by-step procedure to ensure this safety protocol is met before the medication is ever in a patient’s hands.

Rare and orphan diseases can have very significant REMS requirements, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for meeting them. Optime Care works closely with manufacturers to tailor their approach to each REMS, helping to ensure regulatory compliance while supporting quality patient outcomes.

3. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA)

This FDA regulation requires that each pharmaceutical have a unique serial number for electronic tracing. The goal is to help protect patients from drugs that could be contaminated, counterfeit, stolen or otherwise be harmful. The serial numbers improve detection of these drugs so they can more readily be removed from the supply chain.

For manufacturers, the patient-first model significantly simplifies DSCSA compliance. With this model, a single versus multiple specialty pharmacies distribute drugs. This helps manufacturers simplify the supply chain and make it easier to track individual serial numbers, which significantly reduces the burden of DSCSA compliance.

In addition, using a single SP greatly improves visibility into drug inventory and utilization. All of the drugs (and serial numbers) that a manufacturer needs to monitor are stored in and distributed from one place. That makes product returns, recalls and expirations easier to track. Plus, manufacturers can better align inventory levels with actual utilization, which can lower inventory holding costs. Clean utilization data, originating from a single source, make it possible.

Ensuring regulatory compliance, supporting patient care.

Manufacturers should look to their specialty pharmacy to assist with developing the most effective strategies for managing Black Box Warnings, REMS and DSCSA regulations.

While the regulations themselves are rigid and can’t be tailored, your approach to ensuring compliance can be. At Optime Care, our patient-first model is designed for deep customization by manufacturer, product and patient. In fact, the model thrives on tailoring the best approach to meet the unique needs of individual patients with rare and orphan diseases — and the manufacturers who serve them.

Optime Care Receives URAC Top Performer Credential: Patient-First Approach Meets High Standards for Care Safety and Quality

By | News

EARTH CITY, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Optime Care, a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization maximizing therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders, is pleased to announce that it has earned the prestigious Leaders in Performance Measurement award from URAC, the nation’s largest independent health care accreditation organization. URAC recognizes leaders who demonstrate commitment to improving health care quality through performance measurement and continuous quality improvement to enhance the health and well-being of the populations they serve.

“URAC is proud to honor Optime Care as one of our Leaders in Performance Measurement. We created these awards to highlight the impressive work of our clients in improving healthcare quality through performance measurement. Congratulations to Optime for the pharmacy’s commitment to raising the bar on quality.”

“We are honored to receive URAC’s performance award, which is designed to help healthcare organizations develop policies and procedures that ensure the highest quality outcomes and recognize leaders devoted to improving health care for all Americans,” says Michelle Hefley, co-founder, Optime Care. “Optime Care’s patient-first approach supports family caregivers and patients through counseling, guidance and education based upon patient and caregiver needs, optimizing the therapeutic value of a specialty drug by ensuring prescription accuracy, compliance, adherence to treatment and side effects management.”

URAC assesses the performance of pharmacies of all types and sizes, all of which are eligible for the award – from small, independently owned pharmacies to large regional or national organizations.

Hefley adds, “This award further validates that Optime Care utilizes data in a meaningful way and also highlights our leadership role in advancing measurement as a tool to improve care and the health and well-being for patients with orphan and rare disease.”

Eleni Theodoropoulos, URAC’s Vice President of Quality, Research and Measurement, says, “URAC is proud to honor Optime Care as one of our Leaders in Performance Measurement. We created these awards to highlight the impressive work of our clients in improving healthcare quality through performance measurement. Congratulations to Optime for the pharmacy’s commitment to raising the bar on quality.”

About Optime Care
Optime Care, Inc. is a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization offering a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders. Our executive team has partnered in the launch and management of over 40 orphan products and programs while consistently implementing the best brand services for the community. Our experience with small patient populations, coupled with our strategic partnership with AscellaHealth, enhances our services and ability to serve the specialty pharmacy market. Optime Care has dual-accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for compliance with specialty pharmacy and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for specialty pharmacy services that demonstrate a commitment to providing quality care and services to consumers. https://www.optimecare.com/

About URAC
About URAC Founded in 1990 as a non-profit organization, URAC is the independent leader in promoting health care quality and patient safety through renowned accreditation programs. URAC develops its evidence-based standards in collaboration with a wide array of stakeholders and industry experts. The company’s portfolio of accreditation and certification programs span the health care industry, addressing health care management and operations, pharmacies, telehealth, health plans, medical practices and more. URAC accreditation is a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability.

Contacts
Media:
Brittany Tedesco
CPR Communications
btedesco@cpronline.com
201.641.1911 x 14

Optime Care Launches First-in-Class, Novel Copay Assistance Program, Uses Block-Chain Technology to Address Drug Manufacturer Partners’ Challenges

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Earth City, MO – May 17, 2022 – Optime Care, a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization maximizing therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders, announces the launch of Copay AdvisorSM, a first-in-class, innovative copay assistance program to proactively address challenges and unmet needs of its drug manufacturer partners. Utilizing proprietary block-chain technology as its backbone, Copay AdvisorSM minimizes potentially negative exposure with co-pay and maximizer programs for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“This program comes at an ideal time, and we are excited to respond to the growing and often unanswered needs in the marketplace in order to support manufacturers in limiting their potential exposure relating to copay accumulator and maximizer programs,” says Tiffany Ellen Burt, President and Chief Operating Officer, Optime Care. “This is another service we can offer to new partners, as well as companies where we have deep longstanding relationships. Our goal is to continuously support our partners with these types of programs and services that streamline access to branded therapies and enhance patient outcomes.”

She points out that health equity has become a primary concern for millions of Americans who rely upon copay assistance to afford their prescribed medications.

“Optime Care is committed to serving rare patient populations who rely on copay assistance to pay for much-needed specialty drugs,” continues Burt. “In an ever-changing healthcare environment, we are committed to helping drug manufacturers reach these patients through innovative programs.”

A key differentiator from current programs, Copay AdvisorSM uses blockchain technology, an emerging technology being applied in healthcare systems to preserve and exchange patient data through hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacy firms and physicians. This digital ledger facilitates accumulation, tracking and reporting of data needed for compliance with new CMS 2023 guidelines relating to health equity.

Burt concludes, “This program was created or developed to address increased criticism from health insurers regarding typical copay assistance programs. We offer an effective alternative to existing copay programs, which are censured with complaints that they drive up costs while steering patients toward higher-priced brands. Additionally, we now can support the drug manufacturers to help ensure these programs are a win-win for all stakeholders.”

About Optime Care

Optime Care, Inc. is a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization offering a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders. Our executive team has partnered in the launch and management of over 40 orphan products and programs while consistently implementing the best brand services for the community. Our experience with small patient populations, coupled with our strategic partnership with AscellaHealth, enhances our services and ability to serve the specialty pharmacy market. Optime Care has dual-accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for compliance with specialty pharmacy and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for specialty pharmacy services that demonstrate a commitment to providing quality care and services to consumers. https://www.optimecare.com/

The Importance of a Patient-First Strategy to Improve Patient Outreach

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Want to Learn About the Importance of a Patient-First Strategy to Improve Patient Outreach?

Optime Care’s Pharmacist-in-Charge Featured in Employee Benefit Plan Review Here

Brandon Salke, Pharm.D., Pharmacist-in-Charge, Optime Care, byline featured on April 27, 2021: Cost-Effective Patient-First Approach: Relieve Economic Burden of Rare Diseases, Enhance Patient Quality of Life, Improve Outcomes

With rare diseases impacting small patient populations and often manifesting in unique ways with every patient, it is nearly impossible for a single physician to stay up to date with the latest research. This can often lead to a longer road to the diagnosis of a rare disease, and therefore affect the doctor-patient relationship.

Physician practices should be on the look-out for a patient-first management partner –– that offers a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of rare and orphan disorders.

This article highlights how a patient-first care model fosters discussion between the patient and physicians that is essential to understanding the patient’s needs, providing focus on the drug’s impact and monitoring overall health. This provides a trusted path for patients and others involved in the treatment journey, adding much-needed support for the patient’s family and caregivers, enabling them to become more engaged and take ownership.

 

Improve Your Employee Benefits Download the Resource Here

Overcoming Complexity By Choosing an All-Inclusive, Patient-First Specialty Pharmacy Solution

By | Articles

Brandon Salke
Pharmacist in Charge, General Manager of Operations
Optime Care

 

Specialty Pharmacy Service Models

Complex service models are a tremendous burden on the health and wellbeing of patients with rare and orphan diseases. When multiple vendors are involved, everything slows down. For these patients, on-time delivery of their medications can be a matter of life and death. There’s simply no room for unnecessary delays.

Yet, those delays are common when the traditional, complex service model is applied to rare and orphan drugs. For example, consider how many people a patient interacts with at a typical specialty pharmacy. To get started on a medication, a patient might first get an intake call from an 800 number. The patient likely doesn’t recognize the number, so they may not take the call or return the message. This causes confusion for the patient and results in a delayed start to therapy.

Next, there’s a different department for managing prior authorizations and reimbursement, another for co-pays and patient assistance programs, and yet another for coordinating medication delivery. If the patient has a question after the initial interaction, good luck finding the same person to talk with again or even the correct number to call. For refills, the patient may not have a person to work with at all; instead, it could be an impersonal robocall.

Now imagine you’re a manufacturer that has not one, but several specialty pharmacies serving patients. Now, you have multiple layers of management working inside multiple vendors—with no clear and consistent path for communications among the players. There’s no streamlined path for starting patients on your medication and monitoring their long-term adherence No single source of comprehensive, clean data for analysis and more informed decision making, and no single point of contact for understanding how well your medication is performing in the marketplace. With so many vendors involved you also run the risk of diluting your brand message and loyalty.

Instead of clarity, you’re faced with complexity — but if the traditional service model is the only one you’ve ever known, you may feel there’s no other way so you settle for mediocrity.

An End-to-end, Patient-First Solution is the Better Way

Traditional service models are built for volume, not personal attention. They’re designed to dispense maintenance medications to large patient populations. Automation is essential for maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

When a rare or orphan patient population is just a few hundred — split among several specialty pharmacies — the volume dispensed by each pharmacy is very low. If a specialty pharmacy is having difficulty getting some patients started on the medication, they may simply drop them from the program. The specialty pharmacy isn’t structured to customize service for individual patients; it’s just not economically feasible for them. Moreover, with such a small volume, the specialty pharmacy won’t likely have dedicated staff to support your program or brand.

In an all-inclusive, patient-first model, no one falls through the cracks. A patient care coordinator is the single point of contact for the entire patient journey and works with each individual to tailor the experience. Some patients have significant concerns, have a lot of questions, and want frequent support. Other patients prefer minimal contact. In either case, a patient never feels “lost in the system.” At Optime Care, our patient care coordinators truly walk with our patients, giving reassurance and supporting quality outcomes according to the wishes of each. Additionally, you will receive a patient care team dedicated to your specific program.

Using a single Specialty Pharmacy inside the patient-first model, you also have the advantage of standardized data —providing a strong foundation for making more informed decisions with confidence. This “single source of truth” can improve adherence by predicting patient behavior. For example, based on historical data you may identify a particular patient cohort that tends to become non-compliant due to side effects. Though single-sourced data analytics, you can identify these patients more easily and contact them at just the right moment to help maintain adherence, benefitting patient and manufacturer alike.

Speaking of manufacturer benefits, patient-first models are more profitable. With fewer vendors to contract with and manage, operational costs are naturally lower. By leaving complexity behind, streamlining your approach and adopting the patient-first model, you’re maximizing your rare or orphan drug’s potential to support the health of patient and manufacturer alike.

To learn more about Optime Care’s Patient-First Solutions, contact us here:

Contact Optime Care

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The AscellaHealth Family of Companies Expands Executive Team Leadership for Ongoing Support of Strategic Business Initiatives and Accelerated Growth

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Leadership Announcement

Berwyn, PA – May 3, 2022 – The AscellaHealth Family of Companies, including, AscellaHealth, a global healthcare and specialty pharmacy solutions company, strategic partner Optime Care and Terebellum, an Ireland-based subsidiary, is pleased to announce the promotion/addition of several executive-level leaders to support strategic business initiatives, further enhance the AscellaHealth Family of Companies’ market position as an industry innovator and guide their expansion, which has reached an impressive 1,556% four-year revenue increase based on organic growth and acquisitions.

“Our outstanding executive team continues to demonstrate exceptional capabilities to develop, promote and successfully drive the AscellaHealth Family of Companies’ innovative Specialty Pharmacy programs and services,” says Dea Belazi, president and CEO, AscellaHealth. “These new hires and well-earned promotions represent our ongoing commitment to provide innovative programs and services designed to optimize clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with complex chronic conditions or rare diseases.”

Tiffany Ellen Burt has been hired as president and chief operating officer of Optime Care. In this role reporting to the president and CEO of AscellaHealth and Board of Directors of Optime Care, she will be responsible for the overall management, growth and strategic direction of Optime Care, with a specific focus on business development and cultural direction. Tiffany comes to Optime Care with over two decades of healthcare and pharmaceutical experience, including deep leadership skills contributing to overall business growth.

Darcey McDermott has been promoted to chief marketing and communications officer, where she will be responsible for directing and overseeing advertising activities, brand management and marketing communications for the AscellaHealth Family of Companies. In this role, she will maintain strong relationships with media, industry peers and experts to ensure that marketing activities contribute to the organization’s strategic goals and vision, thought leadership and overall success.

Craig Caceci has been promoted to executive vice president and managing director, Terebellum, a subsidiary of AscellaHealth, where he will oversee organization performance, develop and implement strategic plans, as well as establish and maintain business relationships to positively impact sales and overall revenue growth.

Donovan Quill has been promoted to executive vice president, Business Development, Growth & Strategy, Terebellum, where he will develop and execute company sales and marketing plans, including lead generation and sales implementation. He will also identify new growth channels and form strategic partnerships that advance diversified opportunities.

Michael Baldzicki has been promoted to chief brand officer, where he will support the comprehensive business strategy to increase brand awareness of the AscellaHealth Family of Companies, enhance perceived market value and improve lines of services for patients, payers, life sciences and providers. As a brand champion, Mike will ensure the AscellaHealth brand is infused into all parts of the company from sales and marketing to finance, customer service and everything in between.

Read more about the AscellaHealth leadership team here.

About AscellaHealth LLC

AscellaHealth is a global Healthcare & Specialty Pharmacy solutions organization serving patients, payers, life sciences and providers, offering a comprehensive portfolio of customized, tech-enabled specialty pharmaceutical and medical management services. An Inc. 5000 2021 winner, AscellaHealth’s unique, patient-centric approach supports its strategic partnership with Optime Care and is built upon proprietary technology processes for innovative programs and services optimizing health outcomes and quality of life for patients with complex chronic conditions or rare diseases that require specialty medications and/or gene and cell therapies. Visit www.AscellaHealth.com.

About Optime Care

Optime Care, Inc. is a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization offering a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders. Our executive team has partnered in the launch and management of over 40 orphan products and programs while consistently implementing the best brand services for the community. Our experience with small patient populations, coupled with our strategic partnership with AscellaHealth, enhances our services and ability to serve the specialty pharmacy market. Optime Care has dual-accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for compliance with specialty pharmacy and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for specialty pharmacy services that demonstrate a commitment to providing quality care and services to consumers. https://www.optimecare.com/

About Terebellum

Terebellum is a Dublin, Ireland based subsidiary of AscellaHealth representing our global footprint throughout Europe. Our premier group purchasing services, unique pharmaceutical financial solutions, payer and market access expertise and custom pull-through programs targeted to Life Sciences partners and other industry stakeholders ensure optimal cost savings and enhanced clinical outcomes. Terebellum’s leadership team has the deep payer, reimbursement, marketing, and financial expertise needed to provide a consultative approach for branded specialty products to be brought to market successfully.

Conquering the Data Disconnect in Rare and Orphan Drugs

By | Articles

Brandon Salke
Pharmacist in Charge, General Manager of Operations
Optime Care

With the right data analytics, manufacturers can increase patient access, demonstrate efficacy and improve the patient experience.

Data analytics are essential to the successful commercialization of any rare or orphan drug.

The challenge is having a reliable data pipeline that can help manufacturers make more informed decisions.

Optime Care has seen this challenge first-hand. We provided hub services for a manufacturer client whose distribution strategy included several specialty pharmacies. Each one aggregated and shared data differently. Our client told us, “We can’t get the same data out of anyone. They all use different criteria and don’t even report at the same time.” As a result, it was difficult to obtain actionable data to utilize as a guide for strategic planning efforts. The “data disconnect” was very frustrating for the manufacturer and a huge, missed opportunity.

In contrast, the patient-first service model is comprised of a single, reliable source of comprehensive and actionable data across the entire patient experience from enrollment to fulfillment to follow up and outcomes tracking. The availability and quality of this data can help manufacturers succeed with payers, physicians and patients.

Let’s take a closer look.

Improving payer relations

Payers want data to demonstrate that a therapy is effective, which can help make the difference in their decisions regarding patient access and reimbursement.

For example, one of our clients presented a payer with a tremendous amount of data that revealed patients had fewer ER visits and hospitalizations—improved compliance and persistency—and an increase in appropriate utilization, with the right patient taking the right drug at the right time. The payer had been determining whether this therapy should remain on its formulary. After reviewing the data, the payer realized the value of the drug.

Data has other value in payer relations as well, such as obtaining the preauthorization required to establish coverage and start patients on the therapy as quickly as possible.

Benefitting physicians and their patients

How well is a therapy working? During annual reassessments, physicians and patients can review outcomes-driven data that demonstrate efficacy. (Manufacturers can use this same data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their service model and support payer reimbursement.)

Data analytics can also help maintain compliance. Let’s say a particular therapy has a high side effect profile. Because you’re tracking data related to the entire patient population, you notice there’s a consistent drop off in adherence on Month 4 of taking the drug. Based on that trend, you can modify the patient communications plan—for example, adding a new intervention call during that month.

This minor adjustment can make all the difference in patient outcomes. Some side effects may persist for months, and many patients may try to alleviate them by not taking the medication. However, if patients are convinced that remaining compliant will produce the best outcome, they can continue to benefit from the therapy as the side effects ease.

Beyond data for data’s sake

There’s no shortage of data in healthcare. The challenge is to collect actionable data and make sense of it all. Beyond simply collecting the appropriate data, we need to analyze it. That begins by building a data analytics strategy based on understanding:

What do we want the data to tell us?
How can it support discussions with payers, physicians and other stakeholders?
How can we leverage data to make more informed decisions around commercialization?

Every day, Optime Care works with manufacturers to answer these questions and drive the success of the patient-first approach.

To learn more, download our white paper, “How to create a patient-first strategy.”

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