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Part 3 – Three Steps for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers to Grow Business by Empowering Patients

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As we’ve blogged about previously “A drug’s journey from inception to ingestion is an odyssey”. Pharmaceutical manufacturers invest decades and billions to drive new drugs from the lab bench to the prescription pad, only to find the last mile from prescription to adherence one of the most challenging.

As a pharmaceutical leader, you continuously focus on meeting the needs and wishes of your customers with the best possible products. You also know that helping customers get the most out of your products helps you achieve your objectives for new growth.

You are probably concerned about increasingly restrictive regulatory requirements for drug pricing, reimbursement and marketing. You also see incredible opportunity from using mobile platforms and solutions to support patients better and provide real-world evidence to payers.

But how do you make sense of the noise surrounding the “rise of patient consumers” and rapidly evolving wearable health technologies? What is the significance of these trends over the long term for your customers and you’re your bottom line? Where should you start?

What today’s technologies make possible is for you to empower patients.  You can equip them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to adhere with their prescriptions and achieve healthier lifestyles that maximize the benefit of your drug.  But stand-alone wearable devices and apps won’t get you there.

Here are three steps empowering patients. Let’s call them, Education or “What did the doctor say?”, Collaboration or “What’s next?”, and Motivation or “Keep it up!”

Education or “What did the doctor say?”

Unfortunately, the healthcare professionals that prescribe your medication are generally poor teachers. They’ve invested lifetimes to learn a ton about disease and diagnosis, but usually less about people and adherence. And they’re really busy, with little time to cater to each patient’s unique learning abilities.

Most of the patients prescribed your drug aren’t great learners either. They are usually stressed at the point of care. They don’t ask questions because they can tell their doctor is busy. And they forget most of what doctors tell them anyway.

The Patient Visit Record is step one in empowering your patients. Clinicians can become great teachers by using branded infographic education about your drug and recording the conversation. Patients become great learners by being able to replay the teaching session anytime, anywhere.

Collaboration or “What’s next?”

Patients with chronic conditions have a lot to manage. Getting all of the professionals and family who support them to work well as a team can be difficult under one roof, let alone across facilities.

To make matters worse, patients often get conflicting advice from different healthcare professionals.  One specialist’s advice can easily differ from another if they don’t have access to the same care plans. This can confuse patients at best, or threaten their safety at worst.

Patient-facing care plans, are step two in empowering patients. They are a lay-language description of what’s being treated, what’s next, and what to do when expected symptoms happen. They ensure the whole team supporting a patient are using the same roadmap.

Motivation or “Keep it up!”

Medication Adherence rates are notoriously poor.  Nearly one third of new prescriptions go unfilled; half of people that start taking a medication do not continue taking it as prescribed; and approximately 30 percent of prescriptions that get filled once do not get refilled.(Annals of Intern Medicine, Centre for Health Transformation, Script Your Future.)

Patient’s need support and encouragement to achieve better medication adherence and healthier lifestyles that will maximize the benefit of your drug.

Personal health coaching is step three in empowering patients. is step three in empowering patients. Patients track their biometrics and daily lifestyle behaviors like exercise, food, and how they feel. Clinicians can easily monitor a patient population and easily see who needs support and securely message or send content or schedule a phone call.

What’s the value?

Patients are more likely to fill their prescription when they understand the diagnosis, the reasons behind the treatment plan, and the consequences of non-adherence. When a patient’s entire team is collaborating well, they will be more likely to follow their care plans as directed.

And when patients have the support of healthcare professionals beyond the point of care, they’ll be motivated to achieve healthier lifestyles and better medication adherence that will maximize the benefit of their prescription.

Empowering patients enables pharmaceutical manufacturers to meet the needs and wishes of customers while achieving their objectives; to support patients for better adherence, to improve patient outcomes, and to grow business.

Note: This is the third blog in our four part series on the value of empowering patients.