NICA 2019 Conference Highlights– Future of In-Office Infusion
Once again, we want to take the opportunity to congratulate NICA for successfully bringing all the stakeholders together at the NICA 2019 Conference. We had a collaborative, honest discussion of where the in-office infusion industry is currently and what opportunities may lie in its future.
We were excited to see stakeholders from diverse backgrounds come together at the conference. Coming together is essential to tackling our most pressing problems from all fronts because we cannot move forward as an industry if we do not reach out and support each other.
We participated not only as exhibitors but also as speakers, so Altus Infusion had a front-row seat at the NICA 2019 Conference. We want to share with you some of the key points our president, Mark Elliott, discussed during the two-day event.
Altus Infusion’s Key Points at the NICA 2019 Conference
The Importance of Data
Our world increasingly revolves around data. Collecting, grouping, and interpreting data is the best way to make informed decisions in the business world.
Very often, those operating infusion suites have not dedicated enough time and resources to collecting valuable data and metrics within their suites. Unfortunately, this can affect the future success of their in-office infusion suites and the industry. For this reason, the importance of data was the first point discussed during the NICA 2019 Conference.
Everyone involved in this vital channel needs to focus on collecting and interpreting data related to:
- Clinical Outcomes
- Cost-Effectiveness of Drugs
Our industry is highly competitive and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM’s) have significant influence. PBM’s are working to move infusion drugs to specialty pharmacies. The data they are presenting may convince insurance companies that PBM’s are the better route to manage these drugs. PBM’s are urging insurers to move these drugs from medical benefits to pharmacy benefits.
However, according to infusion suite data, pharmacies are not the most compliant route because they do not ensure the full use of the drug is administered and not wasted.
To successfully refute the claims of the PBM’s, our industry must be able to present real, precise data that show our delivery channel is, in fact, the most cost-effective and efficient way to deliver these drugs.
Accepting Outside Referrals
Another topic of discussion at the NICA 2019 Conference was the challenges and opportunities of accepting outside referrals. There are new and exciting growth opportunities for our industry concerning private practices accepting outside referrals.
There is not only a broad pipeline of IV drugs prescribed outside of specialty practices with an in-office infusion suite, but manufacturers are also developing new drugs that will soon be available to patients. These new drugs will create a need and demand for infusion chairs.
We have observed payers moving patients out of hospitals due to it being less of a cost-effective or efficient site of care to administer infusion drugs. Moreover, patients are often reluctant to receiving their treatment in a hospital setting. This patient reluctance to obtain care in a hospital setting creates both a challenge and an opportunity for practices who already have or are looking to add an in-office biologic suite.
The challenge comes in the form of:
- Are they willing to accept these outside referrals?
- If so, what will be their policies and procedures in accepting the referral, pre-screening the patient, and in administering and billing for the drugs?
As manufacturers search for additional sites to administer their drugs, there will be a greater demand for companies specializing in biologic management services that can provide practices the necessary infrastructure and support services they will require to establish themselves as an alternate site of care.
The Need for Advocacy
Historically, outside of oncology, there has not been a definitive and clear voice of advocacy to support and demonstrate the need for in-office/buy and bill of infusible drugs.
NICA did outstanding work in planning the 2019 Conference in a short time. They have become a voice for our industry with both their constant advocacy efforts and in promoting support amongst its members.
However, there is still much that needs to be done to ensure patient access to infusion treatments and reach long-term solutions to the challenges we face. Together we can make a difference in raising awareness of the importance and effectiveness of our treatment channel.
As part of NICA’s advisory committee, Altus Infusion is optimistic about the future of in-office infusion suites and all its stakeholders. We hope to see you all next year, so we can once again hold an open dialogue that will benefit us all.
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