A new study has demonstrated significant improvement in treatment behaviours among patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) who received personalised support in managing the practical and emotional impact of nAMD compared with those receiving usual care.
Published in the patient outcomes journal, Patient Preference and Adherence, the study observed patients enrolled in the SmartSight program, a patient support program operated by Atlantis Healthcare, which is sponsored and funded by Bayer Australia Ltd.
This research proves that improving persistence is achievable and may save their precious sight
People living with nAMD experience a loss of central vision. As a result, many suffer significant psychological impact and a negative impact on quality of life including challenges with mobility, face recognition, day-to-day tasks, and self-care. Treatment can provide patient benefit, but to maintain improvements in vision, it is important that they continue treatment over time.
The paper, entitled “Impact of a Patient Support Program on Patient Beliefs About Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Persistence to Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy” examines how assessing each patient’s beliefs about their treatment and illness can help predict their level of behavioral risk, and then guide the delivery of a personalised support program that improves health behaviors, including attending treatment appointments and staying on treatment as prescribed.
The SmartSight program was launched in Australia in 2012, and patients received tailored information as well as nurse-led coaching calls on topics identified as most relevant according to each patient’s profile. Data from enrolled patients was analysed in comparison to an anonymised sample of nAMD patients in the Australian government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits
Scheme (PBS) dataset. Persistence on treatment at 24 months was significantly higher in patients on the personalised support program (88% vs 64%, p<0.05). This equates to 2 additional monthly injections completed over 24 months.
With a high rate of treatment non-adherence in patients with nAMD2, this study provides meaningful evidence that the challenge of non-adherence can be addressed by understanding and supporting each person as a unique individual.
A/Prof Andrew Chang, Head of Ophthalmology Sydney Eye Hospital highlights the revolutionary effectiveness of modern anti-VEGF drugs in treating nAMD. “A challenge facing clinicians in treating their patients is to ensure they adhere to a rigorous treatment regime. An understanding of the burden of care for patients, their carers and treating doctors is fundamental. Patient Support Programs targeting the high-risk situations for patients discontinuing treatment is countered by providing support and education. This research proves that improving persistence is achievable and may save their precious sight.”
Peter Said, co-author and Head of Patient Engagement, APAC at Bayer explains, “This study reinforces the real-world value that adding patient support based on health psychology insights and an understanding of the wider patient experience can deliver, alongside effective treatments and medical care. As shown in this study, a personalised patient approach can empower patients to take a more active role in their treatment journey, which can improve healthcare outcomes.”
Connor Holmes, co-author and Country Manager of Atlantis Healthcare Australia noted, “As specialists in health behaviour and personalised support that empowers patients for better outcomes, we are pleased to once again demonstrate the impact of our approach. We are also proud that 9 out of 10 participants said they would recommend the support program to others living with nAMD.”