This is an expanding area of pharmaceutical distribution for more complex secondary care initiated medicines as the NHS are constantly looking
for ways to:
- take care closer to the home and
- reduce the cost burden of medication.
All homecare services are supported by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Professional Standards for Homecare Services with an associated Handbook for Homecare Services in England. These standards and guidelines aim to ensure that patients experience a consistent quality of homecare services that will protect them from incidences of avoidable harm and help them to get the best outcomes from their medicines. Homecare services have particular challenges and are, almost by definition, shared care services in which multiple different agencies must work together seamlessly to provide integrated patient care in accordance with a defined medicine pathway. These agencies may be NHS staff, NHS contracted parties and/or pharma contracted parties
Homecare services give patients additional choice, enabling them to be treated at home, where it is possible to do so safely. They encompass the provision of specialist medicines and their associated services to patients in their homes or another community based setting.
Homecare services range from ‘low tech’ delivery of specialist oral medicines for self-administration through to ‘high tech’ with nurse visits for intravenous infusions or training and monitoring of ‘expert patients’ who manage their own infusion pumps.
Typically, homecare services fall into one of two categories: NHS funded or Pharma funded services.
NHS funded services can be internally organised NHS homecare services (for example “Christie at Home”) or can be NHS subcontracted services to third party homecare companies specialising in this service.
Pharma funded homecare services are therapy specific, for example they are prolific in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, but very much less common in oncology treatments, although the latter may change in time as oncology centres are faced with increasing pressure on infusion chairs and nurse capacity to treat the patients.
Selecting the right homecare company (or companies) for your products requires an in-depth knowledge of:
- the products
- the patient pathway
- pricing dependencies
- the homecare companys’ strengths and capabilities
The selection process is necessarily different to other forms of pharma distribution, as the pharma company is one step closer to the patient. The solution has to be right for all parties to the agreement – NHS, patient, homecare company and pharma company.
The cost basis is also completely different.
There is a significant amount of internal governance that must be set up from PV to approved materials and training.
You should consider if you use homecare provided nurses or your own outsourced nurse team?
In addition, Patient Support Programs (PSP’s) can be great tools to provide additional training or assistance to patients who may not be familiar with the disease area or are having problems adhering to their treatment. What would these look like and how can they be rolled out effectively?
Does any of the above resonate with you?
Get in touch with us as have direct experience on tendering, selecting, implementing and running homecare programs for clients, including implementing Patient Support Programs.