In a candid interview this month, we sat down with Brandon Salke, Pharm.D., CSP, Executive VP, Strategic Solutions, at AscellaHealth’s Specialty Pharmacy, Optime Care to delve into the organization's patient-focused approach and its profound impact on the lives of patients. AscellaHealth's unwavering commitment to patient and caregiver well-being forms the bedrock of its approach. We strive to meet patients and caregivers where they are in their journey, ensuring that every decision and action is tailored to their preferences and needs.
In this enlightening discussion, Brandon shares insights into the role of patient care coordinators, methods for staying informed about patient conditions and the unique strategies that foster genuine patient relationships. Join us to explore how AscellaHealth’s Specialty Pharmacy, Optime Care is enhancing lives through dedicated, patient-centric care.
1. How would you define your approach to proactive patient engagement within the Clinical team?
At AscellaHealth, we are unwavering in our commitment to patient and caregiver well-being. Every decision, every action is rooted in the patient's perspective and tailored specifically to their preferences and needs. We strive to ensure patients receive the best care possible for an optimal treatment journey and enhanced clinical outcomes.
2. Can you explain the role of patient care coordinators and the impact of having an individual matched with their coordinator throughout their entire patient journey?
Patient care coordinators are the vital link between patients and their care journey. They serve as the main point of contact throughout the patient's experience. The patient-centric care delivered by our team goes way beyond just managing prescriptions and insurance. Our patient care coordinators are empathetic supporters who build deep relationships with patients and caregivers enabling a seamless, enhanced patient experience that results in the best possible outcomes. This continuity of care ensures that patients have a trusted partner by their side at all times.
3. AscellaHealth often works with patients who suffer from complex/specialized conditions. What are your methods for staying up to date on their care/condition and other relevant medical information?
Our approach is tailored for each patient, creating a unique individualized care plan that addresses the ongoing concerns of patients, caregivers and families with outreach at critical stages in therapy. Utilizing this patient-first approach, enables our specially trained care coordinators to address not only the physical aspects of a patient's conditions, but also the burdens that rare diseases place upon the mental health of patients and their caregivers. Regular engagement with patients ensures we remain informed about their specialized medication and other medical needs. We utilize many technological tools, including phone, email, text messaging and mobile apps, to communicate with patients and caregivers.
4. What is the most challenging aspect of working within the patient care team and how do you overcome these challenges?
Navigating insurance complexities is often challenging, especially for high-cost therapies. We collaborate closely with healthcare providers to advocate for patients, helping them to gain access to therapies as well as building strong cases for therapy approvals. Additionally, our team of reimbursement experts explores alternative funding sources to make sure patients can receive the treatment they need.
5. What strategies do you find most effective in building and maintaining rapport with patients, especially those with complex medical needs?
Building patient relationships hinges on compassionate care and understanding. Our approach is adaptable, recognizing the unique needs and stages of each patient's journey. By dedicating time to comprehending their circumstances, we tailor our approach to optimize treatment outcomes and help to improve the quality of life for patients living with complex, chronic conditions or rare diseases.
6. Within the patient care team, how do you measure and track patient satisfaction levels, and how do you use feedback to improve your patient-centric approach?
We actively reach out to patients and caregivers through monthly satisfaction surveys. The data collected is used to identify areas for improvement. Our management team reviews this feedback quarterly, enabling us to refine our operations for an enhanced patient experience.
7. As you interact with patients who have rare diseases/specialized health conditions, can you share some examples of successful engagement and how they've positively impacted patients' lives?
One remarkable story that comes to mind is a patient with a rare disease impacting their mental state. We invested extensive time ensuring they understood their treatment, engaging with them weekly to check on their well-being. Over time, the patient showed significant improvement in their mental status, emphasizing the critical role of ongoing personalized and supportive care throughout the patient’s journey.
8. For those who are unfamiliar with AscellaHealth’s Specialty Pharmacy, Optime Care, what would be the most important thing you would want people to know?
We prioritize patients and caregivers in everything we do. Our goal is to put patients first and provide a best-in-class experience, making our success contingent on the positive impact we have on their lives. It's immensely rewarding to know we've played such an integral part throughout the healthcare journey in helping patients and caregivers by providing high-level coordinated support services that help ease the pressures of managing the unique challenges associated with caring for an individual living with a rare disease. Our dedication is anchored in making a profound difference in patients' and caregivers' lives each and every day.
About Brandon Salke
Pharm.D., CSP, Executive VP, Strategic Solutions, AscellaHealth’s Specialty Pharmacy, Optime Care*
Brandon Salke, Pharm.D., CSP is the Executive Vice President, Strategic Solutions for AscellaHealth’s Specialty Pharmacy, Optime Care, situated in St. Louis, Missouri. In this capacity, he manages overall pharmacy operations and regulatory compliance as well as being responsible for directing and overseeing pharmacy staff, formulating policies and procedures, clinical and quality programs and also guided organization in obtaining ACHC, URAC and VAWD accreditations.
Brandon possesses over 9 years of focused expertise in specialty pharmaceuticals, particularly ultra-orphan, orphan and rare disease where he has successfully managed specialty programs and products, from clinical trial to commercialization for major bio-pharmaceutical partners, contributing to overall business growth. Additionally, Brandon played an instrumental role in designing and executing AscellaHealth’s patient-first approach, a unique specialty drug management strategy to improve health outcomes and optimize the overall experience for patients with rare and orphan diseases and chronic complex conditions.