Build a Better Patient

March 12, 2019

 

We live in a time when there is more information available than ever before. Between smartphones, the inanimate talking objects in our living rooms, social media, and more, we have on-demand access to information in every language, culture, and time zone around the world.

 

In so many ways, that’s a great thing.  But, if you’re a patient managing an illness, when accuracy of information is of the utmost importance, too much information is just that.

 

It’s no secret that being a patient is hard. Not only do patients need to understand their diagnosis and condition, but they also must navigate insurance, financial burdens, and the impact on their daily lives, including family and careers.  Merely adapting to a “new normal” can be beyond overwhelming.

 

Fortunately, this is an area where pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers can help.  We’re seeing more and more companies evolve the way they define patient-centricity.  That’s leading to a shift from what were actually provider-centric approaches into true patient-centric approaches that are ultimately helping to build better patients.

 

When people are better patients – meaning that they are educated, empowered, and actively engaged in their own care – everything in the treatment process improves. That equates to the Holy Grail of better outcomes, driving success for the entire ecosystem – patients, providers, payers, and manufacturers.

 

How can pharma build better patients?

 

  • Slow down.  Yes, that’s the opposite of what we’re all tasked to do these days, but when it comes to building better patients, it makes sense. There’s a sweet spot in patient engagement that only manifests when you take the time to meet the patient where they are in that moment.  When your frontline employees are trained to truly listen to patients and adapt conversations to provide what they need most – education, empowerment, support, empathy, etc. – patient-centric care is delivered.  It’s not just about getting patients on drug. It’s about effectively keeping them on drug.

 

  • Don’t duplicate someone else’s services.  Your product and your patients are unique.  Acknowledge and embrace that by understanding your patients’ needs and developing the best patient support model to meet those needs. 

 

  • Teach a patient to fish.  When a patient population is a good fit for empowerment, lead that charge.  Instead of doing everything for your patients, empower them to manage their own care.  For example, rather than conducting a benefits investigation, sending an outcomes letter, and considering the work done, partner with patients to understand basic benefit information and help them identify key questions to ask when starting a new product. In addition to building loyalty and trust, you’re building a better patient for the long-term. The next time the patient starts a new drug, they will have the knowledge and confidence to obtain the information they need even if the next pharma company does not offer support services.

 

  • REALLY educate patients on their disease state.  Everyone throws around the term “patient education” but are we truly teaching patients about their disease state by providing them with written information or websites? A more patient-centric approach is to discuss the product and disease state materials with the patient. Relate the materials directly to their knowledge and experiences. A program may assume a patient who has been diagnosed with a condition for 15 years knows everything about their disease state when in reality they may know very little. Always let the patient tell you what they understand about their condition, the product, or services first and then fill in the gaps.

 

 

Building better patients requires programs to reassess and reimagine how they operate and how they define success.  But, patient-centric adjustments like this drive engagement and ultimately better outcomes in ways that just make sense.

 

Is your brand ready to be creative and build better patients?  Archbow Consulting can help.  Our deep experience includes everything from orphan concierge, white-glove HUBs to some of the largest patient support programs in the country.  Contact us today to get started.

 

 

 

 

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