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5 Myths About Pharma’s Patient Experience – Busted!

05 Jan 2024
Consider this – 90% patients want to self-manage their care leveraging technology1, there are currently more than 350,000 mobile health apps available2, and patient portals are expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 19% from 2023 to 20303. These numbers indicate that patients are no longer passive onlookers and have become active participants in taking control of their health. Consequently, pharma companies are looking at ways to refine their commercial models and engagement strategies to cater to these changes and deliver maximum value to the patients. As they now tread this uphill journey toward patient centricity, several aspects of patient experience remain obscure and have caused inaccurate assumptions among global pharma organizations.
In this article, we debunk some common myths about pharma’s patient experience.
Myth 1: Pharma companies are on top of their patient experience game
Compared to a few decades ago, pharma companies have made great strides in building new capabilities and bringing in new technologies to identify and cater to evolving patient needs. Yet, their ability to successfully deliver customized solutions that bolster a superior patient experience leaves much to be desired.
In 2022, pharma companies invested only 28.2% of their marketing budgets in engaging patients, nearly half of what they spent on HCP engagement in the same year4. Their lackadaisical efforts are consistent with the poor performance of their initiatives. According to the State of Customer Experience survey by DT Consulting (An Indegene Company), patients rated pharma companies poorly, with a dismal score of 28 for their less-than-desirable experiences5).
Myth 2: Pharma is nailing personalized content for patients
Content plays a vital role in how patients perceive the experience they receive from pharma companies. And patients are keen to learn and seek information about their symptoms, disease, and treatment at different points in their treatment journeys.
This behavior gives pharma companies a tremendous opportunity to innovate and provide the necessary information that patients require via their preferred channels and at their convenience. But are pharma companies hitting the right notes? As per the survey by DT consulting, although pharma companies are creating and delivering diverse types of content to patients, no type of content has been able to deliver a good or excellent customer experience, and patients judged most content types as just fair.
Myth 3: Poor patient experience has no impact on health outcomes
With 50% of chronic disease patients not complying with their physicians’ recommendations6, therapy non-adherence has a powerful impact on poor clinical outcomes.
Satisfied patients are easy to treat, more likely to follow their treatment plans and control their condition better. Enhancing their engagement solutions and delivering a holistic and personalized patient experience, empowers patients to remain on their treatment plan and take charge of their health and well-being.
As depicted in the figure below, better quality interactions with patients drive them to make better health decisions and be more involved in their treatment journey5. This data is consistent with the findings published in a BMJ Open systematic review where researchers demonstrated a positive impact of patient experience on clinical effectiveness and patient safety7.
Myth 4: Better treatment affordability = Superior patient experience
Yes, affordability matters, but it’s not the only factor that shapes patient experience. Understanding the various unique factors and providing tailored solutions at key inflection points can enable pharma companies to deliver a well-rounded experience and boost therapy compliance.
For example, a global pharma company was seeking to deliver a customized patient support program that would help deliver a superior patient experience among cancer patients.
As depicted in the figure below, we enabled several personalized solutions ranging from onsite enrollment support and financing solutions to adverse event support, medication delivery, and caregiver support that helped the company deliver value to 7,000+ cancer patients. This program also helped enhance therapy compliance that positively impacts health outcomes .
Myth 5: Patient experience has no bearing on pharma’s bottom line
This could not be further from the truth.
As per Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer Report, 71% of consumers switched brands at least once in 2022, and 48% did so due to poor customer experience8. According to another report by McKinsey, across industries, successful projects for optimizing the customer experience typically achieve revenue growth of 5 to 10% and cost reductions of 15 to 25% within just 2-3 years9.
Poor patient experience from therapy nonadherence alone has been shown to cost pharma companies US$375 billion per year10. Non-adherence leads to lower than optimal duration of therapy resulting in less medications being sold. It also increases hospital readmissions, ER visits and puts pressure on other healthcare services resulting in an incorrect perception of therapy inefficacy among patients, physicians, and health systems.
As depicted in the figure below, when we helped a top-5 pharma company deliver a superior experience via a multi-faceted patient support program across therapeutic areas, they witnessed a significant increase in their medicine compliance as well as the drug refill rate, both of which have a positive impact of business outcomes.
Don’t pay the high cost for low customer satisfaction
Poor patient experience has multifold implications. It reduces therapy adherence, drives negative word-of-mouth, causes dissatisfaction, and decreases loyalty, all of which can hurt a pharmaceutical company’s revenue and reputation.
By prioritizing patient experience, they can improve patient outcomes and overall well-being. As a first step, pharma companies need to put themselves in the patient’s shoes, understand their dilemmas and challenges as they go through their treatment journeys, and then, deliver tailored solutions that truly make a difference to patient’s lives.

References

1.
https://www.aha.org/aha-center-health-innovation-market-scan/2022-04-19-advancing-digital-patient-engagement
6.
Kim, J. & Combs, K. & Downs, J. & III, Tillman,. (2018). Medication adherence: The elephant in the room. U.S. Pharmacist. 43. 30-34.
7.
Doyle C, Lennox L, Bell DA systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness BMJ Open 2013;3:e001570. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001570
10.
Car, J., Tan, W. S., Huang, Z., Sloot, P., & Franklin, B. D. (2017). eHealth in the future of medications management: personalisation, monitoring and adherence. BMC medicine, 15(1), 73. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0838-0

Authors

Vikrant Ghai
Vikrant Ghai

Insights to build #FutureReadyHealthcare