Patient Support Services Linked with Better Health Outcomes in Ankylosing Spondylitis Patients

Iqra Mumal, MSc avatar

by Iqra Mumal, MSc |

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Ankylosing spondylitis patients who receive tailored, personalized services, such as care coach calls, have a higher probability of achieving controlled disease within six to 18 months, a study shows.

The study, “Impact of the Adalimumab Patient Support Program on Clinical Outcomes in Ankylosing Spondylitis: Results from the COMPANION Study,” was published in the journal Rheumatology and Therapy.

Patient support program (PSP) services — including nursing services, medication management and counseling, and copay assistance — are associated with an improvement in health outcomes, as well as a decrease in overall healthcare costs. Based on this, many companies are implementing these programs to help patients in a variety of ways, which then translates to improved disease management.

In Canada, patients receiving Humira (adalimumab) are eligible to enroll in the AbbVie Care patient support program (AC-PSP), which provides personalized services such as care coach calls.

AbbVie‘s Humira is an inhibitor of the inflammatory molecule tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and is indicated for treatment of inflammatory autoimmune diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis.

Researchers compared the likelihood of controlled disease in ankylosing spondylitis patients who received care coach calls with patients who did not to determine whether this type of personalized service is actually beneficial for patients.

The team linked patient records from the AC-PSP database to records from the QuintilesIMS longitudinal prescription transactions database. The AC-PSP database included patient assessments on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) — which measures disease activity on a scale from zero to 10, with higher numbers correlating with higher disease activity.

Patients were indexed on the date of their first Humira prescription between January 2010 and October 2015, and had their initial disease activity assessment performed between 90 days before and 30 days after the index date. Follow-up was conducted six to 18 months after the initial assessment.

Controlled disease was defined as having a BASDAI score of less than four at the time of follow-up.

A total of 249 patients met the eligibility criteria for this study, of whom 123 (49%) received care coach calls. Out of the total patients, 184 (74%) had controlled disease at the follow-up assessment: 98 (80%) in the care coach call group and 86 (68%) in the group that did not receive care coach calls.

Statistical analysis revealed there was a 23% increased likelihood of controlled disease in patients who received care coach calls, compared with patients who did not.

“AS patients receiving tailored services through the AC-PSP in the form of [care coach calls] have an increased likelihood of controlled disease within 6–18 months,” the researchers wrote.

“These data should also encourage physicians to enroll patients in PSPs for such inflammatory conditions, and should encourage developers to further invest in and refine PSPs to help patients, beyond providing medications,” they said.