Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Pharmaceuticals created SPARSH HEALTHLINE in 2008. SPARSH (which means “Touch” in Hindi) is a telephone-based complementary diabetes management patient support program for patients who have been prescribed Januvia (Sitagliptin)/Janumet (Sitagliptin – Metformin HCL)/Janumet XRCP (Sitagliptin – Metformin HCL extended release) by their treating physician. ALL PHYSICIANS in both the private and public sector who wish to enroll patients in the program are free to do so. The only qualifying criteria is that the patient should be prescribed JANUVIA/JANUMET/JANUMET XRCP. The objective of the program is to help improve patient’s diabetes control and health outcomes via counseling them on understanding of the disease and its management, self-management of diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes and adherence and compliance to prescribed treatment plan.
This program supports 12 commonly spoken languages (English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada). Counselors engage with patients over the phone to provide diabetes management education and guidance on diet, exercise, monitoring, medication adherence and other lifestyle changes. All counselors have a background in science or life sciences (i.e. all have graduate or post-graduate degree). SPARSH uses a call schedule to engage patients; counselors make a call each week to newly enrolled patients for 4 weeks, then a call each month for 10 months, then a call every two months for one year, followed by a call each quarter while the patient continues to take Januvia/Janumet/Janumet XRCP as prescribed by his/her physician. Patients can access a counselor through tele-services provided 7 days per week from 8am to 8pm., and receive support through education literature, the SPARSH website and multi-lingual text messages.
The key elements of support at SPARSH are:
- Counseling: Care counselors provide counseling support to patients, which prepares and motivates the patient to participate actively in diabetes management.
- Disease education: Counselors provide customized education to patients on topics that explain the disease and its consequences, providing tips on effective participation in therapy. These resources are complemented with reading material, dispatched to the patient in his/her preferred language, and a diabetes education and life-style support website, http://www.sparshmsd.com. Patients also receive tips and alerts about diabetes management through text messages in their preferred language.
- Life-style support, including customized diet plans: MSD provides advice on lifestyle including foot-care, hypoglycemia management, sick-day management, among others. It has a unique diet software for the diverse populations in India, which includes a data base of 700 recipes that follow the principles of Medical Nutrition Therapy.
- Progress monitoring: Counselor’s monitor patient progress on various lifestyle behaviors and overall diabetes management using a systematic monitoring system thus motivating them to adopt/achieve optimal self-care behaviours.
- Information sharing with physicians: Treating physicians can view the status of their patients, their reports and progress at the Doctor Portal hosted on: http://www.spartahealthcare.com:8080/Doctor/index.jsp Training sales force to effectively communicate the program merits to health care providers in addition to regular brand promotion which includes the pill plus program benefit/value offered to such SPARSH patients.
All the services offered by the program are provided completely free to patients.
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