Back to Journals » Patient Preference and Adherence » Volume 10

The impact of patient support programs on adherence, clinical, humanistic, and economic patient outcomes: a targeted systematic review

Authors Gangjuli A, Clewell J, Shillington A

Received 24 November 2015

Accepted for publication 23 February 2016

Published 28 April 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 711—725


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Arijit Ganguli,1 Jerry Clewell,2 Alicia C Shillington3

1Department of Health Economics and Outcomes Research, 2Department of Medical Affairs, AbbVie, North Chicago, IL, USA; 3EPI-Q Inc., Oak Brook, IL, USA

Background: Patient support programs (PSPs), including medication management and counseling, have the potential to improve care in chronic disease states with complex therapies. Little is known about the program’s effects on improving clinical, adherence, humanistic, and cost outcomes.
Purpose: To conduct a targeted review describing medical conditions in which PSPs have been implemented; support delivery components (eg, face-to-face, phone, mail, and internet); and outcomes associated with implementation.
Data sources: MEDLINE – 10 years through March 2015 with supplemental handsearching of reference lists.
Study selection: English-language trials and observational studies of PSPs providing at minimum, counseling for medication management, measurement of ≥1 clinical outcome, and a 3-month follow-up period during which outcomes were measured.
Data extraction: Program characteristics and related clinical, adherence, humanistic, and cost outcomes were abstracted. Study quality and the overall strength of evidence were reviewed using standard criteria.
Data synthesis:
Of 2,239 citations, 64 studies met inclusion criteria. All targeted chronic disease processes and the majority (48 [75%]) of programs offered in-clinic, face-to-face support. All but 9 (14.1%) were overseen by allied health care professionals (eg, nurses, pharmacists, paraprofessionals). Forty-one (64.1%) reported at least one significantly positive clinical outcome. The most frequent clinical outcome impacted was adherence, where 27 of 41 (66%) reported a positive outcome. Of 42 studies measuring humanistic outcomes (eg, quality of life, functional status), 27 (64%) reported significantly positive outcomes. Only 15 (23.4%) programs reported cost or utilization-related outcomes, and, of these, 12 reported positive impacts.
The preponderance of evidence suggests a positive impact of PSPs on adherence, clinical and humanistic outcomes. Although less often measured, health care utilization and costs are also reduced following PSP implementation. Further research is needed to better quantify which support programs, delivery methods, and components offer the greatest value for any particular medical condition.

patient support services, patient assistance programs, medication management, specialty pharmacy, mediation adherence

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]