The Astellas Award for Excellence in Patient Programmes

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AbbVie Care telephone counselling support programme

by Atlantis Healthcare for AbbVie

Summary of work

The 580,000 people in the UK who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) face varying physical, economic and psychosocial consequences that impact on their quality of life.1,2,3 Even though treatments can help, a staggering 30-50% of RA patients do not take treatment as prescribed and demonstrate poor disease self-management. This compromises the effectiveness of their treatment and increases healthcare service costs.4,5,6,7 

The AbbVie Care telephone counselling support programme is designed to address these issues by empowering and equipping patients to take an active role in managing their RA. Delivered by a counselling psychologist, the programme features telephone-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions to assess each referred patient’s specific needs plus any beliefs that could have an impact on treatment optimisation and self-management. Programme members have access to a FREEPHONE line to contact the counselling psychologist should they need additional support between sessions. They are also invited to work through a series of CBT-based exercises in a workbook-style self-management guide. This helps patients feel uplifted and supported over the longer-term. 

Launched in June 2012, the programme has been well received by both patients and healthcare professionals as well as exceeding its KPIs. To date, the programme has received 500 referred patients across the UK.

2. Aggarwal A et al. Physical, psychosocial and economic impact of rheumatoid arthritis: A pilot study of patients seen at a tertiary care referral centre. The National Medical Journal of India 2006; 19 (4), 187-191. 
3. Cunha-Miranda L et al. NEAR study: Needs and Expectations in Rheumatoid Arthritis - do we know our patients needs? Acta Reumatologica Portuguesa 2010; 35 (3), 314-323. 
4. Neame R et al. Beliefs about medications: a questionnaire survey of people with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology 2005; 44 (6), 762-767. 
5. van den Bemt BJF et al. Making the rheumatologist aware of patients' non-adherence does not improve medication adherence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 2011; 40 (3), 192-196. 
6. Elliott RA Poor Adherence to Medication in Adults with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Reasons and Solutions. Disease Management & Health Outcomes 2008; 16 (1), 13-29. 
7. Burke C et al. Adherence to prescribed medicines in rheumatology: a qualitative evaluation of patients' views on DMARDs. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacy 2011; 3 (4), 119-122.

Judges’ comments

This is an excellent patient programme, based on insight and supported by a strong set of outcomes. The entry shows clear understanding of the barriers faced by patients and presents a clear workable solution which performed well against KPIs.