Diabetes Q&A with Sara McCown of LifeScan, Inc.  8/24/2015

During the September 2015 Diabetes Programs at Retail event, Sara, McCown will be sitting in on a panel discussion being held Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from 8:00 – 9:00am. During this session five industry experts, including Sara will discuss different techniques around engaging and impacting the health outcomes of the diabetic customer. 

The following is a sneak peek of Sara’s take on the industry and techniques around balancing better patient care with developing innovative programs while also managing spending.

What kinds of pharmacy-based diabetes care programs have proven most effective? Do they offer insights about what more can be done by pharmacists to combat the disease?
A common challenge we hear from pharmacists is that they see and advise patients for so much more than diabetes. Pharmacists tell us that they are stretched for time, and it’s tough to stay up to speed on all the latest treatment options and products available for patients with diabetes. Manufacturers can help support Pharmacists as well as in-store clinics with diabetes educational resources, insurance/coverage tools, and new product information that can be used by both patients and pharmacies. In addition – working with Pharmacy chains to find ways to educate their pharmacists and provide new information to pharmacists without interrupting their work day is always appreciated.

Diabetes is a costly condition to treat. What progress is being made to reinforce the relationship between spending and positive health outcomes? How can community pharmacy strengthen that link?
The unfortunate reality about many individuals with diabetes, especially those with Type 2 diabetes, is that they may spend years living with diabetes and sustaining damage – but they don’t feel the effects or consequences until years later. Payers and Healthcare professionals are spending time and resources to educate patients early and often, especially those who are pre-diabetic to minimize and hopefully delay and avoid health consequences. In addition - working with patients through case management to counsel and motivate patients to take action to improve their diabetes management. It is important that pharmacists are a part of the care continuum to keep patients adherent to therapy and counseled on the importance of managing their diabetes. We believe that intervention that is early and often can save millions of dollars in long-term health costs. 
Are pharmacists and other health care providers doing enough to coordinate care? Are they communicating effectively with patients?
An area that we believe can be improved is connecting all the caregivers that see and touch a patient. How can a case manager, a physician, diabetes educator and pharmacist support the same treatment message or mission for a patient with diabetes? In the future – with advances in mobile and cloud technology – we see a huge amount of opportunity in this area.

Discuss how the growth of mail-order pharmacy has impacted diabetes care at store level. What other market- and government-related challenges does retail pharmacy face in this therapeutic class? 
We’ve actually seen a decline in the number of mail order suppliers servicing Medicare diabetes patients as a result of competitive bidding. A lot of diabetes patients have moved to retail to continue to get their diabetes testing supplies as of Competitive bidding change 7/1/2013. There are many perceived benefits of mail order for diabetes patients – but we believe that retailers need to be ready and have a large opportunity to support Medicare patients with diabetes – especially as we prepare for the next round of competitive bidding beginning 7/1/2016. 

There are some patients that prefer the convenience of having their diabetes supplies delivered via a Mail Order company. Patients can also receive additional supplies for their other DME supplies (pumps, braces, etc.).

How can the digital health movement help diabetes patients? Are there any potential drawbacks to this trend? 
We believe that digital health is an extremely important way for patients with diabetes to have more information at their fingertips to not only stay engaged with their diabetes, but to understand what their blood sugar results mean, and how to take action to improve them. In addition – digital health will enable the connectivity of care for all those that manage, treat and support patients with diabetes.

Besides the introduction of innovative products, how can suppliers help community pharmacists deliver better care for people with diabetes?
We believe one of our greatest responsibilities to pharmacists is to assist with diabetes education. We have tools and resources to help pharmacists stay on top of the most recent products, trends, insurance changes, treatment guidelines, advances in technology, and the list could go on and on. We want to be a supportive resource to pharmacists to live into our mission of enabling patients with diabetes to live a life without limits.  

For more information about the 2015 Diabetes Programs at Retail event taking place from September 28-30, 2015 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown, please contact Michael Castillo at 440-528-0441 or mcastillo@ECRM.MarketGate.com.

Sara McCown

Sr. Channel Marketing Manager
LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company

Sara McCown is a Sr. Channel Marketing Manager for LifeScan, manufacturer of OneTouch® blood glucose monitoring products and part of the J&J family of companies, responsible for retail, mail order, and wholesale. Sara works to establish pricing and promotional strategies, drive formulary compliance, and band loyalty for OneTouch® blood glucose testing products with the largest retailers, mail order facilities, and wholesalers in the US.

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