As the number of patients who self-administer using drug-delivery devices continues to grow, with more patients being introduced to injection and pulmonary devices, it is of paramount importance to provide proper packaging to further the education. Recent user studies show that approximately 84 percent of patients are failing to follow all of the steps within drug delivery.
Paul Sullivan, associate director of business development at Noble, will speak at Pharmapack North America on June 9 in New York for the session titled, “How to Improve On-Boarding for Patients with Self-Administered Drug-Delivery Devices with Advances in Training and Packaging.”
Noble is a product development company with expertise in design and manufacturing. Sullivan spoke with PMP News in 2014 about patient education.
“We’re really talking about training and onboarding training before they use the product,” says Sullivan. “We want to change the behavior before, not during.”
Noble applies advancements in packaging such as audio, Bluetooth, and sensors that directly train and educate the patient. It can also improve at-home adherent behaviors, reduce errors, and improve training consistency. It can be applied to the non-regulated and regulated pharmaceutical packaging industry, Sullivan says.
“The same types of tech can be applied to both [industries],” he says. “From a non-regulated perspective, what we’re designing is to reduce patient error and error to the healthcare professionals when administering products.”
One common mistake still observed today with patients and drug delivery is following directions.
“With a patient administering a product into the body, especially when they are inflicted with a chronic disease, there’s certainly a high degree of mistakes that can be made,” Sullivan says, “such as leaving the injection device more than the allotted time in the skin, or at the right angle, or listening to [device] clicks. It’s about overcoming these cognitive and physical barriers. They are pretty consistent across the board, whether with an injection or respiratory device.”
In terms of cognitive and physical barriers, Sullivan refers to both the mental and physical challenges patients face with combination therapies. More specifically, anxieties associated with needles, a new disease/therapeutic area, memory recall, and attempting to understand all of the complex jargon associated with the healthcare industry, he says, combined with the physical challenges associated with the device, such as angularity, holding a device for 10 seconds, injecting into the approved area, and following all of the required steps in the provided Instructions for Use.
“Injection devices are often administered every two weeks, making it easier to forget,” Sullivan says. “Therefore the onboarding phase is often longer as compared to more traditional oral therapies. This further increases the need for training.”
Add common challenges associated with aging and specific therapies challenges and the need for training increases further and further, the onboarding phase is when the most errors are made, he adds.
“We compare this to a first date,” Sullivan says. “If this is bad, how likely are you to continue to a second and third date?”
Sullivan says a patient could simply be taking their medication wrong.
“That’s a big, big challenge,” he says. “Patients get home [from the doctor], and they’re not followed up with for a week or two. A stat I read is only 11 percent of patients receive follow up. Patients are making errors and not knowing they’re making errors. The tech we’re talking about here, it’s an active experience."
Sullivan notes the bar has been set in the diabetes market with a slew of demonstrative training devices, but innovation is a continued need. “Devices are getting simpler, but they are still not intuitive enough,” he says.
Marketing for self-administered drug training and therapy is growing, he adds. At the Parenteral Drug Association’s annual meeting three years ago in Las Vegas, Sullivan says Noble was the only company there talking about training. Today the training focus makes its way into most talks.
“Even through we’ve been around since 1994, we’ve been focused on education tools,” he says. “The past three to five years we’ve narrowed our focus to device training and patient onboarding of self-administered drug-delivery device. We’ve found that this is a great area of need in the market.”
Noble offers educational solutions that cater to active learning rather than passive, making it more than reminder packaging, Sullivan says.
“The difference there, really, in the technology we’re talking about is not just reminding you to do something, but to do it right,” he says.
Some of Noble’s products include the Smart Training Kit, the Smart Injection Pad, the Error Correcting Trainer, the mHealth Peak Flow Meter, and more.
For more company details, visit http://gonoble.com.