Biologic coordinators are health care professionals who work within a dermatology or rheumatology practice or for a health care system and can assist patients with getting access to their biologic treatment.
Biologic treatments are given by injection (shot) or by intravenous infusion (a method of putting fluids, including medicine, into your bloodstream). A biologic treatment uses substances made from living organisms to treat diseases such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. While biologics, such as vaccines and insulin, have been used to treat disease for more than 100 years, modern-day advances have made biologics a viable treatment option for psoriasis in the past 15 years.
Many people with psoriasis experience challenges in obtaining the biologic treatments they are prescribed. This may be due to a variety of factors like a high copay, step therapy rules that require a person to try and fail other treatments before accessing the one prescribed, lack of insurance, or fear of injection.
“Without the work of a biologic coordinator, it is very possible that a patient will never experience the potential benefits of biologic therapy,” says Joseph Holton, PharmD, BCPS, a clinical pharmacy specialist at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Holton has been a biologic coordinator for 5 years. In this time, he has seen a positive effect from biologic therapy in many people who have experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms and overall quality of life.
A biologic coordinator can also play a role in helping people with psoriasis who are already on a biologic therapy and need to continue their treatment. “This involves submitting prior authorization renewal requests to the insurance [or] investigating new insurance plans for when patients switch jobs, or go on Medicare,” Holton says.
A biologic coordinator fulfills several roles in the treatment journey of an individual. Once your provider prescribes a biologic treatment, a biologic coordinator can assist to address questions or concerns with treatment and offer educational resources like videos on how to inject as well as dosing schedules. The biologic coordinator will facilitate the prescription order with the pharmacy, trouble-shoot potential barriers to access treatment, and oversee the often-laborious process of managing cost for the patient and ensuring insurance coverage.