Improving the Patient Experience in Receiving Specialty Medications

Improving the Patient Experience in Receiving Specialty Medications

Simplify the process by which patients receive biologic medications.

Challenge Overview

Challenge Description

In the United States, some medications have a specialized fulfillment process which can be challenging for patients to navigate. Specifically, biologic medicines are dispensed by specialty pharmacies that deliver by mail-order only, ensuring the medication is appropriately stored and refrigerated throughout the delivery process. 

As a patient, working with a remote specialty pharmacy can be less transparent than a neighborhood-based retail pharmacy. Examples of this include patients not knowing: which specialty pharmacy their insurance authorizes to deliver their medication, when it will be delivered, or how to easily reach the specialty pharmacy for updates or to make changes to the scheduled deliveries.

The goal of this challenge is to simplify the filling of biologic prescriptions for patients in order to improve access to medicines. The proposed solution should:

  • Track the journey of a biologic prescription and provide status updates to patients on demand
  • Be patient friendly, i.e., usable format, easy accessibility, respects patient privacy
  • Offer a business rationale for specialty pharmacies to participate and share data

This solution should be implementable across all specialty pharmacies. The “challenge guidelines” and “additional context” pages describe in more detail the specific steps of the prescription journey that should be covered, along with context on biologic medicines and how the prescription system works currently in the US. Ultimately, by creating more transparency about biologic medicines and prescription status, we hope to help more patients receive the medications they need, when they need them. 

This challenge is a call for ideas, and subsequent challenges may build out the technical, regulatory, and economic considerations in more detail for the winning solution. 

Updates 7

Challenge Updates

Deadline Extension

March 19, 2020, 8:26 a.m. PDT by David Gonzalez

We understand that the latest development in the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting the personal and professional lives of some solvers like few other events have before. 

In response to this, Novartis has decided to extend the deadline for the “Improving the Patient Experience in Receiving Specialty Medication” challenge to March 30th at 5 p.m. ET.

We hope you, your family, colleagues and loved ones stay safe during this difficult time.  

Looking forward to receiving your solutions!

7 Days Remaining

March 16, 2020, 6 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

There are 7 days left until we need your submissions for the Specialty Pharmacy Challenge! Submissions are due on Monday, March 23rd at noon Eastern Time (New York).

To be considered eligible for the judging stage, you must complete and finalize your submission before the deadline and meet the requirements outlined in the Guidelines section.

Here are a couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry process:

1. Begin your submission process several days before the cutoff time. This allows you to ensure everything you have been working on can be seamlessly integrated into the form.

2. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Final Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this! 

3. Review the Challenge Guidelines to ensure your submission is complete. Pay particular attention to the judging criteria which will be the scorecard used to evaluate your entry.

4. If you haven't already, watch the challenge webinar

5. Have any questions? Head over to the challenge forum and we would love to help you out. 

In case you need assistance, you can view a How-To video on completing your submission here.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve developed!

Only 10 days until the deadline

March 13, 2020, 4:58 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

We are 10 days away from our submission deadline for the Specialty Pharmacy Challenge!

This message is to remind you to complete and finalize your submission before the deadline on Monday, March 23rd at noon Eastern Time (New York). Make sure your submission is finalized before that time to be considered for the judging stage. For your entry to be eligible, it must meet the requirements outlined in the Guidelines section.

View a How-To video on completing your submission here.

As a reminder, if you have any questions regarding the competition, you can post it in the forum or email us at

We look forward to receiving your solutions!

Webinar Recording

March 6, 2020, 3:11 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

If you missed our webinar this week, we strongly recommend you watch the recording! We had lots of questions from the community of solvers and a lively discussion on the panel. 

If you have a question that wasn't answered in the webinar, please share it in the challenge forum and we'll do our best to get back to you.


Reminder!! Q&A Webinar Tomorrow

March 4, 2020, 9 a.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

If you're considering participating in the Specialty Pharmacy Challenge than you won't want to miss out on this opportunity!

Join our webinar tomorrow, Thursday March 5th, at 12 pm Eastern Time (New York) for your opportunity to ask questions live! 

Make sure you register ahead of time and submit any questions you have for the panel!



Forum 1
Community 117
Additional Context
Community Guidelines