By Leslie Small

Though PBMs are most known for the influence they have on prescription drug costs, some firms are increasingly focused on offering high-touch condition management services that give them a more active role in patient care.

For specialty PBM AscellaHealth, LLC, that means harnessing a variety of resources to help better manage treatment for hemophilia, a notoriously expensive disease state.

Not only does the PBM leverage its specialty pharmacy network to obtain the best prices for hemophilia clotting factor, but it also uses technology to monitor medication dispensing in real time and provides clinical interventions when necessary, explains Mike Baldzicki, AscellaHealth’s executive vice president of growth and strategy.

“Managing cost and quality kind of go hand in hand in this regard,” adds Dea Belazi, the PBM’s CEO.

Meanwhile, CVS Health Corp. is expanding its Transform Diabetes Care program, which helps members of its PBM, Caremark, control their diabetes by providing technology-enabled, personalized support and coaching focused on improving medication adherence and controlling blood-sugar levels. As part of the expansion, the program will also focus on the prevention and early identification of diabetes as well as hypertension, which is twice as common in diabetes patients as the regular population.

While care-management programs are hardly a new concept in the health care industry, “the new part, I would say, is putting the PBM at kind of the center of these programs,” says Ashraf Shehata, a principal in KPMG’s health care life sciences advisory practice and the firm’s Global Healthcare Center of Excellence.

In the PBM space, firms are increasingly integrating traditional medication therapy management with connected medical devices “to help create a much more visible data and information stream around people’s ability to successfully accomplish their medication regimen,” he says.