‘No Touch’ is The New ‘High Touch’ in the Healthcare Industry

As the novel coronavirus spread across our nation and the globe, people isolated themselves and follow the ‘no touch’ protocols. Many have followed that advice, afraid that even a trip to the store to pick up essential drugs could put them at risk. Some of the confusion diminished as time went by, but now we are experiencing recent increases in several places.

Thanks to the complexities of the customers they represent. In recent years, specialty pharmacies had to take constructive measures to improve consumers’ connect and maintain consistency of treatment. When we faced the pandemic, taking steps has been more urgent. It has pushed the healthcare industry to make more reforms.

The problem for us was: how would we, while maintaining a healthy distance, really be more “hands on?” How will we be more “in line” with patients by excessive direct communication devices and technology to avoid touching things?

Challenges of specialty pharmacy care

Individuals taking specialist drugs are uncommon, complicated illnesses. Patients with inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, and life-threatening diseases such as cancer are the primary classes. Their medications are also more complex. These require extra permissions from hospitals and doctors, require specific processing and storage, and may have difficult-to-manage side effects. Even certain medications are given by infusion or injection that requires touching.

Suppose people face difficulties in beginning their medications or dealing with the resulting side effects. In that case, they run the risk of discontinuing the treatment. In fact, this involves more people showing up in the emergency or experiencing problems in their well-being.

Life without a pandemic is difficult enough for these people. They’ve become more prone to “high touch’ surfaces.

Seeking answers through technology

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, several healthcare providers started trying to resolve pressure points in specialty pharmacy services to develop a high touch interface with multimedia or automated resources. They believe that these would ultimately promote improved connectivity, comfort, and treatment.

Such methods and our model were much more important after the pandemic for specialty pharmacy patients, who depend on these treatments to treat their chronic conditions. And, with that, the usage and interaction of these resource styles grow. This has demonstrated the utility and impact of these innovations and has solidified the reality that “no touch” is the new “high touch.”

For example, some realized that:

Knowledge and on-demand assistance are in need, especially during these unpredictable periods.

A patient can obtain real-time alerts by email or text on drug approvals and availability from the day a specialty medication is administered. This would help avoid touching prone areas. And the figures better say the story—17.5 percent are more willing to renew their first medication for people who use it. There’s a rise in patient notification opt-ins of 13 percent in the last year.

Going beyond email and text, secure 2-way messaging enables patients to communicate in real-time with their care team. 

Nurses can help with medication challenges that patients encounter — think about managing side effects, interpreting symptoms, or results from the lab.

Seeking answers through technology

The big challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic have reassured us of what is most critical: seeking strategies to communicate with specialist patients so that they feel safe and able to receive essential treatment and prescription services — while minimizing their sensitivity to the virus.

The pandemic also demonstrated the importance of innovations to offer “high-touch” care through advancement in “no-touch” to allow better connectivity.

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