Helping Patients Be #strongerthanMS: A Commercial Services Q&A

World MS Day

Helping Patients Be #strongerthanMS: A Commercial Services Q&A

Multiple sclerosis affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and there is currently no approved cure. The pharmaceutical industry has been successful in creating treatment options to modify and manage the disease, but there is still a need for new and improved MS drugs.

The emotional burden of an MS diagnosis is draining on patients and their caregivers. To minimize this burden, UBC provides 360° support for your MS products and patients. By leveraging our extensive MS experience and industry knowledge, we operationalize clinical trials effectively, deliver high-touch patient care, and break down barriers to product access.

Today, patient communities around the world will recognize World MS Day to raise awareness about MS and the impact it has on patients’ lives. In support of World MS Day, we have asked a few of our experts how their work helps patients be #strongerthanMS. This is the second part of the series. Click here to check out part 1.

Kelly Elio
Senior Manager
UBC Commercial Services Client Engagement Team

Q. Can you describe your role at UBC?
I am a Senior Manager within UBC’s Client Engagement team. I am responsible for the nursing strategy, support, implementation and design of commercial clinical programs and their strategic initiatives. I leverage my strong background in clinical education, commercial operations, and multiple sclerosis to bring even more value specific to MS clients and their patients.

Q. Can you describe your experience with multiple sclerosis?
I have approximately 12 years of experience in the field of neurology, specifically MS, where I currently hold a designation as a multiple sclerosis certified nurse. I have had the privilege of working for a biotech company as an MS Patient Case Manager and Supervisor in an MS call center. At UBC, I have been a Clinical Nurse Educator and Program Manager of a field-based nurse MS educator program. This program provided education and therapy administration training to MS patients across the country and provided support to physicians prescribing various MS therapies.

Q. What unique challenges do patients with MS face?
One of the biggest challenges patients with MS face is the unpredictability of the disease course. MS is a challenging disease to diagnose because the symptoms tend to mimic many other diseases. Every patient presents a unique set of symptoms that may need a different set of management approaches. It’s important for clinicians working with MS patients to understand that while patients may experience physical symptoms, such as vision difficulty, numbness, spasticity, and weakness, it may be the invisible symptoms that present a greater challenge. Many MS patients suffer from cognitive and emotional difficulties as well as depression. Our nurse teams at UBC are experts at having meaningful conversations with patients, covering topics such as disease state education, proper therapy expectations, adherence, and promoting the benefits of therapy. 

Q. What can be done to take the burden off patients and help them maintain adherence?
MS is a complex disease and every patient journey is different. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can minimize a lot of the burden on these patients by offering customized services and care designed to address the complexity of MS. At UBC, we are committed to working with our pharma partners to develop strategic solutions that address their patients’ unique needs.
Our overarching strategy is to improve adherence through proactive, patient-centric therapy management. Our ongoing calls, strategically timed to the patient’s treatment, assist the patient in maximizing therapy and achieving optimal outcomes. In addition, UBC offers a variety of adherence modalities that can be tailored and customized for each patient. We recognize the importance of allowing each patient to choose the type of adherence support that fits into their daily schedule and lifestyle. For example, an MS patient who takes a weekly injection may request to receive a weekly injection reminder text message instead of reminder calls from their nurse case manager.

Q. How do UBC’s commercial services benefit the MS community?
UBC’s commercial services include robust clinical solutions and an array of reimbursement and patient assistance programs — all of which support both patients and healthcare professionals. From my experience, it is important to take a very patient-centric approach to helping MS patients begin and stay on their prescribed therapy regimen — an approach UBC follows.
Our nurse case management model assigns a patient to a single point of contact after diagnosis. This model helps patients feel more comfortable about beginning therapy and helps them to overcome barriers to adherence. Our nurse case managers provide product and disease state education, assist with injection administration and instruction, and ultimately provide a compassionate listening ear to help patients feel more empowered to take control over their disease. Also, since the patient has a single point of contact in their case manager, healthcare professionals have a resource to support their office with reimbursement and product access questions.

Contact us to discuss how our team can utilize our experience and expertise to support your MS product and patients.