Survey examines the patient journey and navigating tricky medication maze during COVID-19
OTTAWA, May 19, 2021 – Calian Group Ltd. (TSX: CGY) today released a new study – conducted during the third wave of COVID-19 – that asks Canadians about access to virtual care during the pandemic, the quality of the patient journey through the healthcare system, and navigating the complex maze of specialty drug programs.
The Calian Care and Medication Index, an Angus Reid survey
of 1,520 people, found that half of all Canadians (51%) have increased their use of virtual healthcare
since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A similar number (49%) intend to continue using virtual care after the pandemic is over and safety precautions have been lifted. Nevertheless, only one-in-three (32%) found virtual care to be as effective, or more effective, as in-person primary care.
“The pandemic very abruptly shifted the way healthcare is delivered in Canada, especially in regard to those who use specialty drugs,” said Kaytlin Sadler, Vice President of Alio Health Services, a Calian company. “Virtual care provides another layer of support that can increase engagement and access, as long as patients are always at the centre of care.”
The survey also asked Canadians about healthcare sustainability. Six-in-10 said that virtual care will help build a resilient and sustainable healthcare system overall and 63 percent said it will reduce the carbon footprint of the health system.
Finally, nine-in-10 respondents believe that the quality of healthcare would improve if practitioners were able to spend more time on meaningful interactions with patients and less time on administrative work.
“Calian is focused on transforming the healthcare experience of Canadians through innovative technologies, connecting them with high-quality care that can improve their lives,” said Gordon McDonald, President of Health Services at Calian. “We conducted this survey to hear directly from Canadians about their challenges and priorities in navigating the healthcare system as we explore new ways of delivering patient-centred care.”
Specialty drugs and Patient Support Programs (PSPs)
The use and cost of specialty drugs continue to rise in Canada. A specialty drug is a medication that is typically used to treat chronic, complex conditions. Patients who take specialty drugs require screening, education, clinical monitoring and support through affordability and reimbursement programs.
More than half of Canadians (53%) answered that they (or someone in their care) take one or more specialty medications for a therapeutic reason, such as mental health, oncology, neurology or cardiology.1 Given that adherence to specialty medication is necessary to achieve successful outcomes of these expensive therapies, the survey probed what these patients deemed vital to their experience in the healthcare system.
Here were some standout findings regarding specialty drug patients:
- 61 percent feel the high cost of some specialty medications can prevent them from proceeding with treatment
- Eight-in-10 feel that programs designed to provide personalized support through all aspects of the treatment journey (including education, nursing, adherence and reimbursement) are critical to their treatment
- 45 percent feel adherence phone calls from nurses would help them stick to a drug treatment
- 43 percent find the healthcare system difficult to navigate given their diagnosis
In terms of the patient journey, 87 percent of patients who take one or more specialty medications feel communication among their entire circle of care improves their experience as a patient. Eight-in-10 value calls, emails and text messages to remind them of physician visits, medication refills and time for next dose. Finally, 90 percent of respondents value educational information on required treatment and any lifestyle changes needed.
“Patient Support Programs (PSPs) enhance the patient experience throughout their treatment journey by keeping all the stakeholders aligned and informed, including the patient’s physician,” said Sadler. “Well-managed PSPs offer significant support to help patients navigate the complex reimbursement process and adhere to their treatment, so patients can focus more on their quality of life and less on the healthcare process.”
About the Calian Care and Medication Index
From April 7 to April 8, 2021, an online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,520 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The sample was balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes, the sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
1 List includes mental health, neurology, migraines, rare diseases, nephrology, haematology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, weight loss, dermatology, immunology, clinical study, gastroenterology, kidney disease, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, respirology