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Patient Access: Know value of support programs

Patient Access: Know value of support programs

Kathryn VaughnQ. How are consumer support programs beneficial to users and HMEs?  

A. Manufacturer consumer support programs are free and often brand agnostic for individuals, health care professionals and HMEs. Trained advisers encourage compliance to practice guidelines for managing chronic health conditions. Resources include condition specific education, advice on lifestyle modification, product troubleshooting and tools to be successful. Typically, programs also provide product samples and help connect consumers to in-network suppliers, simplifying their journey to receive care.  

Let’s explore an example: Bob’s been experiencing symptoms and after evaluation by a urologist is given a diagnosis of chronic urinary retention and told he needs to use catheters. In just one visit, he receives a life-changing diagnosis, as well as brief education on intermittent catheterization and catheter samples. Bob feels overwhelmed and is unsure of the steps of self-catheterization and concerned about his upcoming fishing trip. Fortunately, Bob’s urologist recognizes the benefits of consumer support programs and enrolls him.  

The program adviser, Laura, calls Bob that day and listens to his concerns. Laura answers Bob’s questions on catheterization, provides guidance on his upcoming trip and finds him an in-network supplier. They agree to a follow-up conversation the next week to check in. Bob places an order with a supplier and receives the package the next day. He is feeling much more confident with his new routine and is prepared for his trip.  

HMEs are beginning to realize the value of consumer support programs. Consumers who are enrolled are more likely to be compliant with their medical supplies. HMEs can direct lifestyle and product related questions to consumer support programs, removing the need to be an expert on each product. Furthermore, programs report high levels of user satisfaction, which means happier customers.  

HMEs interested in enrolling customers in consumer support programs can contact their manufacturer partners to learn more about offerings, publications supporting program benefits and steps to enroll. 

Kathryn Vaughn is director of Market Access for Coloplast. Reach her at


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