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PHARMA BRANDS: ARE YOU AN UBER OR A TAXI?

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“Don’t get Ubered” is a common phrase uttered in the tech world today. It’s referencing companies who don’t (or won’t) pay attention to the changes happening around them. As a result, they scramble for survival as more attuned companies see success by adapting their entire way of doing business.

Put in that perspective, “Ubered” is now a relevant term for healthcare, too. Our industry has been relatively immune to the disruption tech, finance and nearly all other industries have experienced. Until now.

Consumerism, driven by the likes of Uber, Amazon, PayPal and Airbnb, is greatly affecting how we operate. When it comes to the evolution of our industry today, all signs point directly to the patient, who is demanding the same level of fast, personalized service from healthcare as these aforementioned companies are providing.

The result? Regulators, payers and providers are trying to rapidly transform into systems that focus on experience rather than products and services. Case in point: the rapid rise in the number of insurance companies making on-demand services, such as telehealth RNs, available—and seeing financial rewards because of it.

Pharma must follow suit if they want to see similar success.

Taxis Never Saw It Coming

When Uber first debuted in 2010, taxi companies were focused on all the wrong factors to effectively compete. Their primary concerns, including how to spend less yet earn more, increase passenger rates per driver and lower the cost of vehicle maintenance, focused on improving their bottom line—a company-first, customer-second mindset.

Uber flipped that focus, putting consumers’ needs at the forefront and asking itself: What is the best possible experience we can create for people needing a ride? How can we use technology to streamline service and make it more convenient and user-friendly? What do consumers ultimately need from us? The approach worked: The company says it fulfills over 1 million rides each day.

When it comes to our approach, what type of questions are we asking? Based on recent patient feedback regarding pharma, it seems they may not be the right ones:

  • 55% of patients say pharma isn’t working collaboratively with patients[1]
  • 45% say the industry doesn’t understand their real needs[2]
  • 46% say pharma does understand their needs, yet it’s just not doing enough to address them[3]

These consumer opinions are disappointing, considering that 86% of pharma executives state that patient centricity is key to their profitability.4 Recognition is the first step toward a more patient-centric business model, but there’s more action to take, starting with understanding the patient journey and the numerous opportunities it offers pharma companies to improve patient interactions.

 

The Point of Point of Care

Broad reach used to be the ultimate goal in the point-of-care industry in the days of blockbuster drugs. Given the new landscape, what matters most now is whether you’re connecting with the right physicians and patients. Based on the following statistics, there’s work still to be done.

  • Nearly 40% of patients don’t know any of the pharma companies behind their treatments[5]
  • Of the 14% of patients who said they felt they had a relationship with their pharma companies, only 40% indicated it was a good relationship[6]

How do we raise awareness of pharma as a true partner in the patient’s desire for better health? Just look to Uber for the answer: cater to a person’s individual preferences and needs. This ability to provide relevant, personalized information and education when and where the patient needs it represents a significant opportunity for pharma companies to engage patients at the moments that matter most.

That is exactly the point of point of care—to educate patients during their healthcare journey to enable them to have more productive interactions with their physicians and make more informed decisions about their health, ultimately leading to better overall outcomes.

This is the point of PatientPoint, too. It’s why we started this business 30 years ago and why we continue to lead its innovation, creating new, integrated solutions across the physician office and hospital that providers and pharma companies can leverage to impact the patient experience at every engagement point.

 

The Answer Is…

Today, Uber is worth more than $60 billion and has over 8 million users. It is a great example of a company that recognized the importance of putting the consumer experience at the center of its operating model—and is seeing success because of it.

In this new healthcare landscape, pharma companies must ask themselves: Do I want to be a taxi, or do I strive to be Uber?

[1]Sarah Mahoney, “Patient Engagement: All Grown Up—Patient Engagement Comes of Age,” MM&M, June 1, 2015, http://www.mmm-online.com/features/patient-engagement-all-grown-uppatient-engagement-comes-of-age/article/415990/

[2]Ibid

[3]Ibid

[4]Dr. Nicola Davies, “Creating Patient-Centric Growth,” eyeforpharma, Jan. 22, 2016, http://social.eyeforpharma.com/commercial/creating-patient-centric-growth

5]Ed Miseta, “Patient Survey: Technology Use Up, Pharma Disconnect Remains,” Clinical Leader, Jan. 25, 2017, https://www.clinicalleader.com/doc/patient-survey-technology-use-up-pharma-disconnect-remains-0001

[6]Ibid

Linda Ruschau
Chief Client Officer at PatientPoint
Linda Ruschau, Chief Client Officer is a healthcare communications leader specializing in consumer and physician engagement at the point of care. A speaker and author, she has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical marketing experience, point-of-care expertise and client service leadership. Ruschau was one of the original entrepreneurs of PatientPoint launching the first exam room education program over 26 years ago and continues to be passionate about innovating in the healthcare sector. Since that time she has led expansion to digital exam rooms and waiting rooms, multi-cultural initiatives, and physician partnerships. Ruschau was also part of the PatientPoint team who co-founded the POC3. Ruschau can be reached by email at linda.ruschau@patientpoint.com or telephone at (513) 936-6800.
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