Patient engagement strategies in a digital environment:
Life sciences companies respond to changing patient expectations
In a shifting health care landscape, patients are demanding care and solutions that are coordinated, convenient, customized, and accessible. Nontraditional players are coming forward to address these emerging expectations and establish their brands for patient engagement services.
Life sciences executives are responding to the pharmaceutical industry’s changing focus toward holistic patient management and improved real-world outcomes. But are they moving swiftly enough, and in the right direction? New ecosystem participants outside of the traditional health care enterprise—wearable health monitors, mobile wellness apps, device companies, telecom companies, and more—are fast moving in order to cater to changing patient expectations.
Power to the patient
Changes in technology and the health care ecosystem are increasing the patient’s role in decision making and reshaping their expectations from health care companies. This is driven by several factors, including patients’ ability to change their own outcomes based on behavior, financial scrutiny due to cost-sharing models that push more costs onto the patient, the industry’s shift toward evaluating outcomes to determine value delivered to the patient, and the availability of technology solutions empowering patients with more information and the ability to play an active role in managing their well-being.
What does “good” look like for patient engagement?
With regard to patient engagement, there is emerging support for moving away from a reactive approach, in which coordination between stakeholders, therapy, and care is limited or ad hoc, to a proactive model in which engagement tools and support bolster both patients and health care providers. This benefits both the patient and the life sciences company: Patients get help with a range of both administrative tasks (securing financial assistance, filling prescriptions, receiving supplies) and emotional issues (dealing with a new diagnosis, understanding treatment options, providing basic educational and motivational support), while life sciences companies get assurance that their product is administered and delivered as intended, in a way that can optimize efficacy and outcomes. In an evolving reimbursement environment where payers increasingly demand proof of real-world outcomes, companies need to ensure that patients adhere to medication regimens and practices.
Therapy: Connecting with patients to provide access to and support with their care. Specific therapy-related solutions include access to care, specialty pharmacy triage, distribution solutions, site of care/infusion site match, lab/test results coordination, and nurse visits.
Financial: Helping patients obtain the resources they require to stay on therapy. Specific financial solutions include insurance verification, benefits investigation, claims appeals and re-coding, prior authorization, co-pay assistance, and bridge therapy programs.
Clinical: Providing patients with a point of contact during trials and assisting with transitioning from clinical to commercial drugs, specifically clinical trial support and risk evaluation and mitigation strategies.
Engagement: Granting patients access to programs via traditional and emerging channels that will help support their unique treatment journeys and enable better long-term treatment outcomes. Specific engagement-related solutions include enrollment and consent, case management, patient adherence programs, portals, assistance with appointments and scheduling, mobile health monitoring, telehealth, and advocacy.
Education: Delivering educational insights to inform patient decision-making and behaviors. Solutions include medical information and pharmacovigilance, nursing educational support, and between-visit care.
Understand the opportunities
Given the new patient-centered health care ecosystem, the cloud-based technology platforms that can enable leading patient engagement strategies, and the growing competitive environment for pharma companies as previously consumer-focused firms enter the patient engagement market, pharma companies need to ask key questions about their current strategy, products, capabilities, and offerings.