Hubs East 2024: Leveraging Digital Hubs

Hubs East 2024 session, “Leveraging Digital Hubs to Improve Retail & Specialty Lite Access, Affordability, and Adherence.” March 20, 2024. Hubs East 2024, Philadelphia, Pa. Image Credit: Nicholas Saraceno.

At Hubs and Specialty Models East here in Philadelphia, the event has preached the ease and convenience of digital hubs, which are intended to simplify medication access. Phil, Inc. has joined in on those efforts with a digital hub platform of its own called PhilRx.

In the session titled “Leveraging Digital Hubs to Improve Retail & Specialty Lite Access, Affordability, and Adherence,” Thomas Luby, the company’s SVP of business development, and Catherine Wood Hill, VP of Marketing, tackled various subject matters, including access, affordability, and adherence challenges; a comparison of traditional models versus digital hubs; strategies for improving patient outcomes; and driving outcomes through digital hub data.

These obstacles surrounding access, affordability, and adherence are very much prominent. According to Phil, 97% of providers have reported patient access delays or denials as a direct result of prior authorization (PA) requirements. With costs continuing to rise, 79% of patients determined that their meds will cost more than anticipated, a percentage that has increased by 12% from 2021; one in five patients (20%) have also noted that their non-adherence was a result of the high cost.

When it comes to traditional channels models versus digital hubs, the traditional models often have various channels available, such as specialty pharmacies, digital pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and traditional hubs. Digital hubs on the other hand provide digital engagement, software-enabled PA, real-time data and insights, and a national dispense network.

“We are able to use our nationwide dispense model in order to make sure that we have 98% coverage, which really helps to ensure that as many patients as possible get access to that medication and at the lowest possible price, since the covered script is going to be the most affordable script for that patient,” noted Hill. “So the dispense network really helps to facilitate that. But then, because it is a digitally driven program, from the second that a healthcare provider (HCP) sends that prescription through the electronic health record (EHR), all the way through that dispense and the refills, we’re able to provide you with data about how payers are responding to your brand.”

Being that 59% of patients reportedly have little or no knowledge of support programs that are at their disposal, and 55% are willing to learning about them via their provider, Hill and Luby recommended that:

  • Patient-facing hub education is created
  • Providers be given patient education tools
  • Support programs be designed in a way so that the lowest price can be found in the hub

Speaking of HCPs, two in three providers are seeking additional information from field reps concerning patient support programs in the space. When looking at payers, a statistic they ought to be aware of is that 45% of prescriptions are abandoned once a patient’s out-of-pocket cost exceeds $125, jumping up to 60% once the cost exceeds $500.

So as a result, the session left attendees with several conclusions to gather. For one, digital hubs should be seriously considered as a channel for both branded retail and specialty-lite products. It’s also important to offer not only patients, but field teams and providers with the necessary support and knowledge for all of this to function efficiently, as after all, being able to successfully leverage this data can go a long way toward developing positive patient outcomes.


Luby T, Hill CW. Leveraging Digital Hubs to Improve Retail & Specialty Lite Access, Affordability, and Adherence. March 20, 2024. Hubs and Specialty Models East 2024. Philadelphia.

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