ZS trends report unlocks the future of patient support services

By Tanya Shepley, Adarsh Jain, and Pratiksha Singhal

June 28, 2024 | Article | 5-minute read

ZS trends report unlocks the future of patient support services

ZS’s Future of Health Report provides a blueprint for how we might think about the healthcare system of the future—a system integrated with technological tools, assisted by AI and powered by stakeholder collaboration to create more patient-centric delivery. The report gathers perspectives from providers and patients to better understand how we can create a future that’s accessible, affordable and equitable.


Employing innovative patient engagement strategies to personalize the healthcare experience is a particular priority in the patient services space. In the last two years, we’ve seen a significant shift toward personalized, technology-driven care. Patients are no longer satisfied with mere treatment; they’re seeking an experience that mirrors the convenience and transparency of e-commerce, coupled with personalized care. At the same time, healthcare providers (HCPs) face burnout from administrative tasks. This dual challenge contributes to the pressing need for streamlined workflows and improved patient support.


ZS’s Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report compiles the patient services and support trends ZS has seen across the pharma industry during the past year. It highlights the direction in which patient services are evolving and how digital health is particularly influencing them, featuring insights from the ZS Patient Services Directory, SME interviews, literature reviews and industry assessments, all grounded in ZS’s proprietary frameworks.


Here are some of the highlights from this year’s report:

Accessible care in the spotlight

ZS’s Future of Health Report identifies some of the central challenges for how patients prioritize their health. Patients say they lack access to affordable healthcare services, due to cost barriers and complexities in navigating the healthcare system. These issues create friction and inconvenience and even spur patients to abandon treatment.


This emphasis on accessible care is particularly crucial in complex therapy areas like oncology, where there’s a growing need for services that reduce barriers to treatment. The Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report, built on insights from the ZS Patient Service Directory, found that 22% of patient support programs (PSPs) in oncology now offer logistics and transport services to ensure timely access to treatments. Innovative offerings are addressing critical patient needs, specific to their disease, in an effort to offer individualized and patient-centric care. 

A more interconnected ecosystem

The increasing demand for equitable and patient-centric care has compelled stakeholders across the healthcare system to collaborate and explore new avenues for patient support services. The Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report analyzes how the increasingly interconnected healthcare ecosystem, including stakeholders such as payers, patient advocacy groups, hubs and health systems, are actively working to improve outcomes and patient experience.


One of the core strategies employed by this multi-stakeholder ecosystem is the seamless integration of technology and third-party capabilities to enhance the patient experience and drive improved outcomes. For example, the pharma industry has witnessed a surge in partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and digital health vendors, enabling a digital entry point that enhances patient and HCP access to services. The report underscores the ever-expanding impact of technology—like digital health tools, such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring and app-based symptom management—on revolutionizing patient care by facilitating real-time, data-driven management of patient conditions.

Targeted engagement approaches

In response to growing patient demand for an e-commerce-like healthcare experience, pharma companies are adopting targeted engagement approaches. Just-in-time interventions and next-best actions are becoming strategic pillars of effective patient engagement, ensuring timely and effective interventions based on the patient’s current condition and preferences. In addition to these trends, the Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report examines emerging topics like gamified engagement and reward-based incentives, which positively influence patient behaviors and improve engagement, leading to improved outcomes. 

“It is unsurprising that digital therapeutics and apps, which often leverage gamification, are gaining attention among pharma companies, payers and employers.”


Simplifying provider workloads with AI

For PSPs to succeed, it is important to mitigate challenges faced by HCPs at the forefront of the care delivery ecosystem. Complex workflows and prescription fulfillment processes have led to HCP burnout, with providers reporting delays in patient access to care due to workflow burden. The Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report delves into the potential of AI in a technology-driven healthcare delivery model, which can hasten diagnosis and reduce HCP burnout by automating administrative tasks.

Annual trends report fills the gaps

The healthcare industry is undergoing a significant transformation, leading to prioritization of patient-centric care, a focus on an integrated multi-stakeholder ecosystem, adoption of technology to improve care delivery and an increased emphasis on personalized and targeted strategies to shape patient engagement. AI-powered analytics, next-best action and omnichannel engagement strategies are at the forefront of this transformation, improving the patient experience by providing personalized interventions and enhancing communication between patients and HCPs.


As innovative solutions continue to evolve, they have the potential to revolutionize the healthcare landscape, creating a more connected, efficient and patient-centered healthcare system. Pharma engages in discussions about the crucial support provided by PSPs, yet it struggles to monitor daily dynamics consistently. This is where ZS’s Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report fills the gap, offering a comprehensive solution for companies seeking to stay abreast of these trends.


For a deeper understanding of the trends shaping the future of healthcare, contact us for access to the complete Next-Generation Patient Support and Services Annual Trends Report.

About the ZS Patient Services Directory

The ZS Patient Services Directory offers a comprehensive solution for landscape assessments, providing continuous access to current trends, evaluating innovative service experiences and conducting in-depth comparisons within specific therapy areas across the U.S., European Union and Asian and Pacific regions. Our database covers more than 300 programs, ensuring a robust and insightful analysis of the patient services landscape. 

Add insights to your inbox

We’ll send you content you’ll want to read – and put to use.

About the author(s)