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W-07: REMS Call Center Survey: REMS Stakeholder Perceptions on Call Center Performance and REMS Program Administrative Burden

Poster Presenter

      Cathy Marino

      • Sr. Director, Customer Care
      • Celgene Corporation
        United States


To assess the experience a REMS stakeholder (prescriber, pharmacy, or patient) has when they call the Celgene Customer Care Center (REMS call center) to participate in the REMS, identify REMS tasks they perceive as requiring the most amount of effort, and determine the calls’ resolution rates.


REMS Stakeholder callers were invited to take an on-line voluntary 15-question survey. Customer effort (1–100) was calculated using answers indicating ease of call handling, the perception that the call was worth the effort, and whether callers felt the issue took less time to resolve than expected.


Due to the safety risks of embryo-fetal toxicity associated with thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide, each product is available in the U.S. only through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program. The Celgene REMS programs require prescribers, patients, and pharmacists to complete mandatory REMS tasks beyond typical prescription/dispense interactions before those products can be taken by patients. An available channel to participate in the REMS program is via contact with the REMS call center. Of the 593 invitations sent between July through August 2015, 90 responses were qualified to be included as survey participants (30 prescribers, 14 pharmacies, and 46 patients). Two contact reasons most selected were “completion of patient survey” (39%, n=35) and “completion of prescriber survey” (22%, n=20). The average number of contacts needed to resolve a REMS issue was 1.51 with 79% taking 1 contact, 10% taking 2 contacts, 6% taking 3 contacts and 6% taking more than 5 contacts. Of all the calls 97% considered their request resolved, 2% had an ongoing request, and 1% gave up on their request. The average Overall Customer Effort score was 16 (normalized average scale 1–100). Of the REMS tasks reported to take the most amount of customer effort by the caller, “Patient or Prescriber enrollment” (score of 33) was reported as having the most amount of effort followed by “completing a patient survey” (score of 16).


Data indicate that almost all REMS stakeholder callers who participated in this survey had their inquires resolved fully with a low amount of customer effort (Overall Customer Effort Score=16). In comparison to the national call center average (score of 35), the REMS call center scored considerably lower in terms of effort put forth by REMS stakeholder callers. The identification of patient and prescriber enrollments taking the most amount of customer effort was an important finding. Although this is a smaller sample, this data represents a substantial subgroup of REMS stakeholders that specifically use the REMS call center channel to perform mandatory REMS tasks. This initial and relevant collection of stakeholder feedback provides an important and specific perspective for REMS sponsors to consider and serves as a major indicator of REMS program execution. Through the efficient and compliant operations of the REMS programs, the REMS goals can be met. However, patient access and REMS administrative burden must be considered when developing and maintaining complex REMS programs that require REMS stakeholder participation. This voluntary survey serves as a solid benchmark and measurement of REMS Call Center operations.