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3 Market Access Takeaways from SXSW 2023


Entrée Health's Bill Pittenger and Veronica Warman at SXSW, March 2023.


3 Market Access Takeaways from SXSW 2023

Written by: Bill Pittenger, SVP, Director Digital Growth and Operations, Entrée Health*


In recent years, SXSW has grown into the must-attend event for the latest trends in technology. As a self-proclaimed long-term techie working in market access, I attended this year’s conference with great anticipation to see what lies ahead where those two passions meet. My colleague Veronica Warman and I were far from disappointed.


For those working in market access, here are three key takeaways from SXSW 2023:


High-quality health education is possible (and more accessible) on social media


The reality of today’s healthcare marketplace is that healthcare professionals (HCPs) often have less time than ever to spend with patients. At the same time, social media usage and consumers’ level of comfort in receiving healthcare education through non-personal channels are on the rise. On TikTok, we’re seeing HCPs shift from their roles as KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) to DOLs (Digital Opinion Leaders) and tackling often misunderstood or uncomfortable topics on a platform that provides consumers with appreciated anonymity.


With as many as 20 percent of patients in some age groups turning to TikTok instead of their HCP for health information, it will be essential for pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers to appropriately plan for social media influence in their market access strategies going forward. Starting early in a product’s lifecycle by engaging internal cross-functional stakeholders such as legal, marketing, and medical affairs will be crucial in laying the groundwork for success.


We need to open our minds to the idea that access can be available anywhere there is an internet connection


The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that patients and HCPs do not have to be physically co-located for care to be provided. Having an HCP available in person for everyone worldwide may never be possible. Still, with an estimated six billion people around the globe on the internet via computers, smartphones, tablets, watches, etc., it is possible to connect just about everyone virtually with HCPs.


This mindset of rethinking the “doctor’s office” regarding site-of-care has enormous health equity impact potential for underserved communities everywhere. And technology is already driving significant progress in helping stakeholders meet patients where they are. For example, smartwatches are now used to collect longitudinal data that give HCPs a holistic view of a patient’s health, spanning heart rate, menstrual cycle, exercise, and monitoring of caloric intake. Pharma has an opportunity to partner with smart device companies to leverage their data and science to help patients make better decisions, improve adherence to therapeutic regimens, and proactively promote better health outcomes.


Employee migration patterns may be inadvertently influencing employer commitment to long-term, holistic care


The latest information from the U.S. Department of Labor shows a median employee tenure of 3.8 – 4.3 years. That, combined with rising healthcare and drug costs, puts employers in a difficult position when determining how to manage their annual spend best, leading to a preference for short-term impact (e.g., flu shots) vs. long-term impact (cancer and heart health screenings).


High-priced therapies often make easy examples when discussing the tough decisions employers and other insurers face. While a life-changing treatment may greatly benefit one patient, the expense to the health plan may inadvertently negatively impact the care available to all the other plan members. That’s especially concerning if the treated employee leaves the organization in less than four years.


We’re still solving for this as an industry and may be for a while. However, looking to efficiencies in technology, AI, site-of-care, value-based contracting, and even social media will go a long way toward establishing manufacturers as good partners to payers in the quest for ensuring access to the healthcare patients need.


*Archbow Consulting is part of the Entrée Health Network of companies that works collaboratively to deliver comprehensive market access solutions to the pharma and biotech industry.


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Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe reach their commercial goals with strategic and tactical approaches to distribution, pharmacy, and patient access. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.


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