Can packaging and drug-delivery devices help reward patients for adherence?

By Daphne Allen in Adherence on April 27, 2015

Even the best drug in the best container with the best delivery device can end up being useless if patients don’t take it, points out Chris Evans, vice president of research and innovation for West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.

“For years, West has been making devices for self-injection easier to use, but the angst and anxiety along with the perceived pain are often barriers to adherence,” he observes.

Such “psychological barriers” are often present “when the benefits of taking the drug are long term, not immediate,” adds Katrina Firlik, chief medical officer for HealthPrize Technologies LLC.

Executives at West and HealthPrize have been talking about how to tackle nonadherence ever since HealthPrize’s CEO Tom Kottler and Firlik co-founded the company and launched its rewards platform for healthcare. “We knew there would be some role West could play with its devices,” says Evans, “such as some wireless communication method to convey dosing to the HealthPrize application.”

Last fall West and HealthPrize formalized its collaboration by integrating HealthPrize’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) medication adherence and patient engagement platform with West’s injectable drug delivery systems. At the upcoming Pharmapack North America conference June 9, Evans and Firlik will explain how the drug-delivery systems will encourage and reward patients for taking medication.

The HealthPrize platform is “consumery and fun,” says Firlik. “It is a true loyalty program that offers education and rewards, through gamification.”

To date more than 20,000 patients have enrolled in current HealthPrize programs customized for a number of pharma brand programs, combining rewards with patient education, self-reporting, and prescription refill verification. “Points can be redeemed for items based on the supporting brands’ preferences,” Firlik says, “from gift cards to merchandise to coupons and even charitable donations.”

The combined West-HealthPrize system will enable drug-delivery devices to automatically update the platform once a dose has been delivered, such that patients would not have to self-report their adherence. “Each injection would register as an event on our platform, granting points to patients, encouraging them to engage with the platform and remain adherent,” says Firlik. Additional reinforcement comes through education, quizzes, competitions, and sweepstakes, she adds.

The platform could be used on all types of devices and data transfer systems for wireless communication and could include the use of smart labels, RFID/NFC, and QR-code scanning. West plans to support both West drug-delivery systems as well as existing drug-delivery devices of other manufacturers to interface with the HealthPrize software.

Such a solution “can be implemented without major changes to patient lives,” says Evans. “West always tries to develop an effective drug container and effective delivery devices—HealthPrize allows us to have an effective patient,” concludes Evans. “We now have control over this piece of the puzzle.”

Learn more by registering for Pharmapack North America. Evans and Firlik will speak June 9 at 1:30 pm in “How Gamification, Behavorial Economic Concepts, and Rewards Can Impact Drug Delivery and Adherence.”

For more details, visit www.healthprize.com and www.westpharma.com.

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