When Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional mono- logue on national television about his son’s health issues and his perception of the healthcare system,
he highlighted a fundamental disconnect between companies and consumers: Healthcare brands often fail to address
patients’ emotional journeys.
This disconnect is essentially a marketing problem because
healthcare brands tend to focus their messaging on e;cacy,
product functionality and attributes, and bene;ts-at-use. Even
examples from the healthcare industry that do address patient
journeys fall into patient support categories that revolve
around chronic disease areas, such as multiple sclerosis, cystic
;brosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. While aspects like functionality are important, they aren’t what create brand value.
From the earliest stages of consideration to eventual
purchase, a patient’s experience with a brand shapes how she
perceives its value. That’s why healthcare marketing is much
more powerful when addressing the scope of patient emotions, experiences, and hurdles. In this way, brands ultimately
create an experience that fosters engagement and delivers
value much earlier in the patient journey.
Understanding how consumers engage in healthcare
Often, healthcare choices are made on emotional instincts,
especially when patients are confronted with two products
that seem very similar. Thus, brands should look deeper into
the patient journey to identify the moments that matter most
and to better understand what translates as value. By providing
important services or other tangible bene;ts during these
moments, they can further shape patient perception.
Still, brands that want to employ this strategy often
encounter challenges in identifying those salient moments.
They’re forced to wade through sparse qualitative insights
and quantitative patient-engagement data from market
research that stems from underdeveloped and underopti-mized content. With brands focusing on brand awareness
instead of value, e;orts to untangle the patient journey
inevitably garner less attention.
Focus on the patient journey
De;ning and understanding the critical moments along the
patient journey is just the ;rst step in creating greater brand
value, though. While these moments illuminate the place
brands should focus on, they don’t provide a frame of reference
for what patients need and, therefore, what they ;nd most
valuable to the brand experience.
Essentially, the goal should be to provide well-timed content, information, and resources that grab patients’ attention
at the necessary moments and create a holistic experience exemplifying brand value. Then, brands can use patient insights
to learn what is and isn’t working. A lack of clicks or signups
could mean a brand is disseminating the wrong messaging or
perhaps maybe the right messaging but to the wrong channel.
And a lack of patient retention, even with initial engagement,
indicates brands aren’t meeting the expectations that customers have come to expect in today’s marketplace.
By measuring interactions across multiple channels, for
example, Kaiser Permanente and Humana can gauge the e;cacy of their content and more e;ectively engage patients. For
this reason, they consistently achieve top ratings in customer
experience by the Temkin Group. Ultimately, brands that want
to cultivate the patient’s perception of value along the patient
journey and hone their marketing strategies to promote a
more comprehensive experience should look to “the ;ve C’s”:
Demonstrate that you know the patient and his circumstances,
preferences, and needs. Most importantly, acknowledge how
his stage of the journey at this point is di;erent from where he
has been and where he is going, because information must
evolve from initial disease awareness to diagnosis and beyond.
Using focus groups and other survey methods is a great way
to acquire this understanding and shape content strategies. By
leveraging patient feedback, you allow patients to essentially
co-create with your marketing team and work toward building
a more personalized experience.
Empower patients by helping them facilitate their own paths
to wellness or disease management. Focus on developing
integrated systems that both allow patient participation and
continually adjust content on the basis of that feedback.
Marketing automation tools should be used to personalize
patient requests and respond faster to them by o;ering
dynamic user-requested content. While broad-based website
content may be more general in nature (and thus easier to
produce), one-to-one communications should be dynamic
to support evolving patient needs.
Help patients understand and navigate their options. Each
therapeutic category has its own nuances that patients need
to understand, and gain support for, in order to stay informed
on treatment decisions. As opposed to focusing solely on generalized disease symptoms or treatment, you should create a
thoughtful, responsive system that illustrates to patients the
present and future value of their choices through concrete
steps, stages, and action items. These can make daunting
aspects of decision-making more manageable.
Help patients understand how they can make any necessary
changes to behavior, lifestyle, or routine. While the manifestation of this support can take many forms, it should
fundamentally do two things: It should be built into a brand’s
foundation, and it should ensure that the tone and tenor of all
communications emanate from a place of patient support. By
encompassing aspects of patients’ health that may impact the
treatment journey, you sync your brand with their overall lives
and o;er greater and more pervasive brand value.
Connect patients with other patients, resources, support
groups, and advocates. While social media and other forums
o;er patients broader opportunities to share their stories,
make connections, and learn from others, greater value
can be created by brands that acknowledge the important
role communities play and then enhance the community
experience. Thus, you should help patients know they aren’t
alone by building a system that allows them to connect with
your brand and, most importantly, gives them an outlet for
the personal and emotional impact of the ailments they’re
By considering the ;ve C’s for every piece of marketing you
put out, you can start to identify the moments that resonate
most and then merge personalization with these dynamic
experiences. Healthcare is a personal and emotional experience for everyone, and marketing teams that embrace this
idiosyncrasy will render more successful and more engaging
strategies that ultimately create greater brand value.
Five keys for how you can make marketing about the patient
hosting a number of conference calls and
emailing regulatory compliance staff, to
ensure wholesalers and manufacturers
are aware of the licensure verification requirements so as to not disrupt the distribution of samples to Ohio patients.”
The Ohio Board’s efforts have helped
educate companies, given the intricacies
of the new requirements. The law holds
the prescriber and the facility accountable, both requiring a TDDD license to
give product samples to patients. This
adds a level of complexity for companies,
which in turn, must validate the prescriber license as well as the HCO where
he or she works.
What makes this even more difficult is
that prescribers often work in more than
one type of facility such as a nursing
home, EMT, lab, hospital, and practice.
Collecting and verifying current data as
well as correlating it across multiple, affiliated facilities represent a significant
challenge for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Add on the requirement
to verify that HCPs who distribute controlled substances have the requisite,
additional Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) license, and the complexity is
To address Ohio TDDD and ensure
uninterrupted supply of samples to providers and patients, life sciences companies are looking for options. A recent
poll of members of the Sharing Alliance
found that many members have been
forced to comply with the new legislation
in one of three ways:
1) Discontinue all sampling in Ohio or
at least controlled substances;
2) Replace the practice of reps
hand-carrying samples with reps taking
sample requests from physicians, which,
are then, fulfilled by a third party;
3) Revert to paper-based sampling
and, later, manually recording the
TDDD license in the CRM system. A
small number of Alliance members said
they are working to re-configure their
internal CRM systems to create custom
fields that store the Ohio TDDD license
or license exemption. This task can be
risky and expensive.
All three options create some level of
disruption in service to providers and
can impact patient treatment by pre-
venting or delaying access to potential
breakthrough medications. In addition,
they potentially incur costs and hinder
the productivity of the sales and mar-
keting teams. There is a better way.
Bringing together data and
validation to remain compliant
Customer relationship management
technology is core to any effective engagement strategy in life sciences. It
plays a major role in ensuring compliant
interactions with providers and navigating changing regulations. Data plays a
critical role, as well. The key is to combine
both – up-to-date data and validation.
Securing accurate and comprehensive
data is the first step. A recent industry
survey revealed that a majority of companies struggle with data quality issues.
Incorrect physician addresses, not knowing which doctors to contact, and outdated information about specialty and
license status create frustration among
field teams while impacting efficiency.
As a result, 78 percent of companies are
working on initiatives to improve data
quality within the next two years.
But, better data is just part of the an-
swer. To make data actionable, it must
be accessible at the point of interaction
– in this case, the sales call. Field teams
need a single, integrated data/CRM
solution that can validate that an HCP is
at an HCO with an Ohio TDDD license
before delivering a sample. This enables
companies to automatically cross-refer-
ence and validate HCP, HCO, and affili-
ation data to swiftly confirm that organi-
zations are properly licensed at the point
of distribution. It allows companies to
drive compliant interactions with HCPs
in Ohio – and nationwide – without
disrupting their important prescriber
sampling programs and product access
Change is the only constant when
it comes to the life sciences regulatory environment. The Ohio TDDD law
is just one example, but demonstrates
the impact of regulatory change as well
as the importance of agility – in terms
of both processes and technologies.
Bringing complete, up-to-date data
and validation together in the CRM is
the way to efficiently address the challenges of the Ohio TDDD legislation,
and other changing regulations still on
the horizon. medadnews
Paul Shawah is senior VP of commercial
strategy, Veeva Systems.