Share Your Chair: The Patient’s Perspective in Infusion Care

As health care has transitioned to a value-based system, patient engagement and an understanding of the patient perspective has become increasingly more crucial in assessing the perceived cost, access, and quality of health care in the United States.

Improving the patient experience has a clear, inherent value to patients and their families, but a positive patient experience also correlates with advances in clinical processes and outcomes. Patients’ experiences with care, particularly communication with their health care providers, correspond with adherence to treatment plans. This is especially true among patients with chronic conditions when a commitment from patients to work with their providers is a necessity for achieving long-term results.1

Every year, millions of patients who are treated for a chronic autoimmune disease receive intravenous (IV) medications in hospitals and stand-alone infusion centers across the country. The latter option has proven to be a more cost-effective medication delivery system, but many policymakers and insurance providers are unaware of its existence and relevance in the lives of patients, much less the patient access barriers that threaten this delivery channel.2

The model of the stand-alone infusion center, or the provider’s in-office infusion suite, meets the need for high-quality, costeffective infusion therapy for patients whose health depends on timely administration of medication. In addition to being more economical than hospital-based infusion centers, many patients who are suffering from chronic autoimmune diseases and are immunocompromised either prefer or are instructed to seek treatment in smaller facilities with less exposure to pathogens.

The National Infusion Center Association (NICA) is dedicated to addressing patient access challenges, such as nonmedical switching, step therapy, and increased pharmacy benefit manager transparency. NICA has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to address these access barriers and has submitted countless comments to health plans on behalf of NICA provider members from across the country when a threat to patient access is imminent.

Nothing can replace the power of the patient perspective when assessing how these policy changes have an impact on care.

In September, NICA began encouraging infusion patients across the country to “share their chair.” Share Your Chair is a new campaign designed to raise awareness of the office-infusion delivery channel among patients who depend on it most. NICA believes that many infusion patients can attest to the advantages of receiving infusions in an office-based setting. For many patients, these advantages include convenient office hours, the amenities, or the physicians and staff members who provide exemplary care and build a strong rapport with patients who regularly receive infusions.

Infusion patients interested in participating in the campaign can take a selfie in their infusion chair; upload it to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourChair; and share what they like most about where they receive infusions and why having access to infusion therapy matters to them.

Regardless of where you administer IV medications, if you know patients who are grateful for the care they receive at your infusion center, encourage them to participate in #ShareYourChair. We are counting on patients to share their experiences and perspectives about their infusion centers so that we can continue to fight for their access to care.

Learn more about NICA’s #ShareYourChair campaign at http://bit.ly/ShareYourChair.


References

  1. DiMatteo MR. Enhancing patient adherence to medical recommendations. JAMA. 1994;271(1):79, 83.
  2. Magellan Rx Management. 2017 Magellan Rx Management medical pharmacy trend report. https://www1.magellanrx.com/magellan-rx/publications/medicalpharmacy-trend-report.aspx. Published 2018. Accessed September 27, 2018.

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