Another Asembia is in the rearview mirror and once again I’m amazed at how many key learnings come out of attending this annual trade show. Since last year’s event, there have been numerous industry developments that have dominated the headlines. From the announced mega-mergers of ESI / Cigna and CVS / Aetna to the almost daily chatter about Amazon “disrupting the drug channel” there is a reason for both anxiety and optimism within the specialty drug community. All of these shifting marketplace dynamics created the perfect environment for some collaborative discussions during the course of the conference.

Read on to learn about some of the hottest topics and trends from this year’s meeting…

And We Thought Co-Pay Accumulator Programs Were a Hot Topic Last Year

So if this topic was hot last year, it was on fire by comparison at Asembia18. TrialCard hosted over 70 meetings and co-pay accumulator programs were a key area of interest for almost every organization it spoke to. As we move into the middle of 2018, it was not lost on most pharmaceutical manufacturers how this issue has started to impact their patients’ ability to afford specialty medications. If you are interested in learning more about this topic please check out TrialCard’s guest post on Adam Fein’s Drug Channels blog.

While eServices Have Great Potential, the Concept is Still a Bit Ambiguous

Pharma is definitely abuzz about the potential of eServices to streamline many of the manual and administrative tasks that have historically burdened Hub programs. What was enlightening though is when asked to specifically describe eServices the responses ran the gamut from EMR/EHR integration to electronic benefit verifications and prior authorizations to full technology ecosystems which support getting patients initiated on therapy. My team and I spent a great deal of time in meetings simply aligning with pharma clients around the common market basket of eServices (i.e. eEnrollment / eConsent, eBV / ePA – Pharmacy & Medical, eRx, etc.) as well as explaining the fundamental difference between benefit eligibility and drug coverage as it pertains to the results of electronic benefit verifications. There are several recently launched industry-wide eService initiatives (i.e. CVS / SureScriptsUnited / AllScripts) that have great potential and I look forward to continuing the dialogue with my clients about how their programs might benefit from these and other offerings.

The Ongoing Debate Over Versus Proprietary Patient Case Management Platforms

It was abundantly clear patient case management platforms are all the rage these days. Everyone from Hub providers to specialty pharmacies to technology consultants and even pharmaceutical manufacturers are trying to develop platforms or ecosystems that will serve as the “single source of truth” for the patient journey. The approaches for executing on this vision are drastically different though with some organizations electing to license and customize Salesforce Health Cloud while others are building out proprietary systems to address these same objectives. Regardless of the foundation for the “platform of choice” almost everyone I spoke with agreed the technology must be built on an open services architecture which can easily integrate through application programming interfaces (APIs) with other best-in-class digital products and channel trading partners.

AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics – Separating Myth from Reality

This is the first Asembia I’ve attended where some of these sexy Silicon Valley technologies were discussed in more practical terms for their ability to potentially solve real-world patient challenges. There was genuine interest on behalf of pharma around how artificial intelligence could be used in a patient call center environment to drive higher first call resolution rates, as well as more consistent delivery of messages. Additionally, the concept of leveraging machine learning and predictive analytics to drive higher automation and accuracy rates for electronic benefit verifications proved to be a popular topic of conversation. These new technologies hold great promise for enhancing manufacturer patient services and it will be exciting to watch as they are more widely adopted within service provider’s offerings.

Scott Dulitz

VP, Corporate Strategy and Mergers/Acquisitions

At TrialCard, Scott is responsible for leading a team of Subject Matter Experts focused on innovation and product development as well as developing and executing the strategy around TrialCard’s service offerings.