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The Advent of the Autonomous Patient

The Advent of the Autonomous Patient

Imagine you’re shopping for a car, but the manufacturers advertise to your auto mechanic instead of you. That’s what the pharmaceutical industry is currently doing.

Most engagement efforts from pharma companies are focused on healthcare providers (HCPs), leaving patients — the true consumers — out of the equation. In addition, HCPs are bombarded with the same message across multiple channels, rather than getting the personalized information they need to support their patients. As a result, these engagement efforts fail to make an impact.

Patients now expect the healthcare system to provide the same level of personalization they experience from eCommerce and streaming services. Microsoft’s industry blog highlights how transparency from Uber, coupled with the type of curated content and personalized recommendations from Netflix and Spotify, can serve as examples of the customized experiences HCPs should offer through their digital tools. While this scenario puts pressure on HCPs to proactively engage with patients, it also encourages more patients to play an active role in their health and, most importantly, have greater autonomy over their healthcare decisions. 

Core Elements of a Patient-Centric Commercial Model

As we explore the role of life sciences companies in shaping patient experiences, it's essential to understand the four elements of a patient-centric commercial model:

  • Patient engagement. Patients are more empowered than ever to make their own healthcare choices. With the advent of specialized therapeutics, patients are relying on feedback from their communities to support decision-making rather than following doctors’ orders. The life sciences industry must build channels to engage directly with patients rather than relying solely on HCPs to deliver the message.
  • Personalization. Patients are also consumers who expect the same level of customization and personalized service in healthcare that they receive when shopping for personal goods. They want HCPs to predict their needs and proactively support their journeys rather than respond reactively, by which time it may be too late to engage.
  • Accessibility. Once patients choose a therapy to treat their disease, they and their HCPs carry the burden of proving medical necessity. Without proper support, patients or providers may give up on accessing certain treatments, turning instead to other, potentially less-effective options. Additionally, patients are now receiving healthcare from their homes and expect similar convenience for their treatment regimens.
  •  Trust. Studies show that patients with rare diseases must learn to advocate for themselves due to the inexperience of their HCPs. Building trust with patients requires a patient-centric focus that recognizes that they are in the driver’s seat. Failure to address patients in this manner will further erode trust and degrade brand positioning..

Driving Cohesive Customer Journeys to Meet Patient Demands

From recruitment to adherence, there are multiple touchpoints across the product lifecycle that present opportunities for market differentiation:

The continued pattern of mass marketing to HCPs across multiple channels falls short of meeting patient expectations. The only way to overcome this trend is to curate the data to understand where patients are in their journeys and offer the right kind of support where they want it and when they need it.

Insights about patient journeys largely reflect the fragmented nature of healthcare delivery. Patients with rare or complex diseases often have care teams scattered across multiple healthcare facilities, making it difficult to join data to reveal the full extent of patient needs. Fortunately, new advanced analytics technologies enable lookalike modeling to augment existing patient journeys by unifying anonymized attributes across disparate data sets. This allows for the identification of patient segments at every stage of the journey — from research to real-world — and harnesses the value of data to provide personalized care.

The Blurred Line Between Healthcare and Life Sciences

New advances in personalized medicine, the emergence of decentralized clinical trials and the focus on health equity mean that life sciences companies need to play a stronger role as a partner in care delivery. By using the techniques outlined above to build trust with patients and deliver real value to HCPs, life sciences companies can set a new standard for patient satisfaction.


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