Understanding the Patient Journey to Improve Your Pharma Advertising
The pharmacy industry is focusing on a prevalent trend as of late: patient centricity. In a market that finds it necessary to provide solutions that benefit patients, brands, physicians, and other healthcare providers, that necessity must remain the primary focus for true closed loop marketing. Perhaps the most difficult of these to master is providing solutions to patients. In order to successfully do this, pharma must put patients at the center of attention; one way to do that is patient journey mapping.
What is a patient journey?
The best way to describe a patient journey for pharma is to call it a collection of experiences a patient has had throughout healthcare systems. It’s a series of phases in a path the patient takes from initial symptoms to when treatment ends. The journey includes stories on the patient’s path and emphasizes their largest issues with physicians, caretakers, medications, and the overall health system.
These phases are:
- Awareness & Recognition
- Presentation & Diagnosis
- Treatment Decision
- Brand Selection & Access
- Changing & Persisting
How Can the Patient Journey Benefit Pharma Brands?
So, the question is, “How can pharma use these journeys to its advantage?” First and foremost, brands will be able to look at and improve patient outcomes, since they will be informed about the opinions of patients thanks to empowerment programs.
Second, pharma brands can base strategies on the end-user, in addition to healthcare providers, basing them on real-life evidence. This enables brands to give priority to patients who need more dedication and help.
Third, using patient journeys for pharma marketing improves communication between all parties involved in this process, including the patients and their loved ones, physicians and healthcare providers, payers, sales reps, healthcare systems, and pharma brands. This ultimately delivers the best care possible to patients.
How to Support Patient Journeys
There are four types of support that pharma brands can exercise: practical, educational, behavioral, and emotional.
- Practical support involves the access to treatment patients have.
- Educational support is improving the information patients have regarding their diagnosis, condition, and treatment.
- Behavioral support encompasses solutions that go beyond the pill to help them change their day-to-day routines using apps that help plan activities, adhere to medication schedules, and track their data, for example.
- Emotional support is providing patients ways to cope with their disease through phone support, counseling, and similar methods.
Accessing the Market with Patient Journeys
Although pharma brands have more restrictions when it comes to accessing main market areas, they can still gain important data to help cultivate future marketing decisions. You can learn more about your product and how it’s being used, including how efficient it is, and use this data in future promotions. In addition, you can identify the main stakeholders and see how influential their opinions are for patients. This allows you to deduce who influences patient decisions in addition to physicians.
Pin down challenges such as how long it takes patients to get appointments, how long the time period is between appointment to diagnosis and from diagnosis to prescription, and so on. Use this information to learn the skills required to improve points of contact. The most important access you can gain from using patient journeys is access to patient preferences. Getting acquainted with the people who look to your treatment to improve their lives will allow you to better find out not just what their problems are, but also what you can do to help solve them.
And isn’t that the point of marketing? To offer solutions to people’s problems?
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