The Patient Journey: Are You Missing Something?

The missing step in patient care often overlooked by Ryan White and STI clinics

By: Brady Atherton

Do you provide clinical care for patients living with or at risk of HIV? If so, you know how important it is to consider their needs beyond the clinic visit.

The patient journey is not linear. Social stigma, family issues, mental health challenges, financial hardship, and fear of discrimination are only a few obstacles patients may face. When individuals come to your clinic for care, it is often just the first step in a complicated journey to better health. Although accessing your services is a crucial step towards engaging in a patient’s own sexual wellness, keeping them adherent to their medications often presents a separate set of challenges.

Clinics like yours do so much to treat patients and help them stay adherent. However, an important resource in the care continuum is often underutilized: the pharmacy team.

Patients and health care providers alike sometimes assume that one pharmacy is as good as the next when it comes to providing pharmacy care. This is simply not true. Pharmacies who strive to meet patients where they are in their lives can be partners in driving adherence. Ultimately, better adherence leads to better health outcomes, and we all know that is the goal in health care.

What are the obstacles that a patient can encounter once they leave your clinic?

A patient may encounter obstacles at the pharmacy that complicate or even prevent them from filling their prescription. A pharmacist or pharmacy technician who isn’t familiar with HIV or PrEP assistance programs or who are not culturally competent in working with patients who are living with or at-risk for HIV can make simple mistakes that lead to major disruptions in care.

  • A pharmacy tech may communicate a high co-pay amount without educating a patient on financial assistance programs, leading the patient to believe that they cannot afford the necessary prescription medication.
  • A transgender patient may encounter staff who aren’t culturally competent in caring for trans patients. Staff may mis-gender or use stigmatizing language, leading the patient to discontinue treatment in order to avoid distressing environments.
  • A sexual trauma patient in need of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) may require urgent attention and expedient financial navigation that an average pharmacy staff member may not be able to provide. This may lead to patients missing their “window” to start their time-sensitive PEP treatment.

So, what can you do? Consider an onsite pharmacy.

Avita’s deep and unique experience working with HIV patients in an onsite pharmacy environment brings significant value to covered entities, their providers, and the patients they serve.

Physicians enjoy direct access to HIV-specialized pharmacists. Having a trusted partner in managing patient adherence removes some of the burden physicians face every day. Patients experience high-touch service from culturally competent pharmacy teams who are specially trained to help manage the challenges experienced by patients living with or at risk of HIV.

An onsite pharmacy with a pharmacy partner who has expertise in HIV care and prevention, as well as 340B program management, enhances patient outcomes and experiences, relieves physician burden, and maximizes covered entity proceeds. This specialized focus is one that many retail pharmacies are unable to provide.

Every year, Avita provides care for over 30,000 individuals living with HIV through our 50+ onsite pharmacy partnerships. We understand how consuming it can be to run your clinic which is why Avita’s turnkey onsite pharmacy model and integrated 340B program administration was designed. It takes the burden off the shoulders of clinic staff enabling you to focus your time and resources on patient care.

I would love to talk to you about the patient journey and share more insights about the onsite pharmacy model and the benefits it brings.

Please reach out to me directly at brady.atherton@avitapharmacy.com. I’m happy to answer any questions via email or even set up a quick call or video chat.

Brady Atherton is Avita’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development

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