In the first two weeks after a cancer diagnosis, there are likely to be dozens of doctor visits, tests, consultations, and decision points. The patient care team provides a wealth of information, although reviewing brochures and online resources can be overwhelming for the patient and caregiver. Complying with regulatory guidelines is an important step the pharmaceutical industry takes to ensure that medical promotional materials contain balanced information that is accurate and relevant.1 The goal of the marketer is to design easy-to-follow patient guidelines that conform to medicolegal parlance. Further complicating the consumption of highly technical data is the emotional state of the newly diagnosed or recently relapsed patient.
Meet patients where they are
Do we expect standardized medical brochures to accommodate the wide range of patient perspectives? The demographic diversity of patients, such as generation, socioeconomic status, educational level, and family support structure, makes a single patient profile impractical. Personalization of the patient journey is supported by therapy-specific websites, dedicated landing pages, and mobile apps. Still, is a 36-page patient brochure less overwhelming because it can be accessed online by the patient and caregiver?
Supporting the patient journey
How can pharmaceutical marketing better support, serve and educate to address how patients and their caregivers receive information? Helping them find relevant resources with very specific information at the right time and in chapter format. Patient-centricity is based on empathy and understanding of the patient journey and the many factors that affect the patient experience along the continuum. Personalization means that the customer feels as if someone is speaking to them directly. Communication should be welcoming, relevant and digestible. Too much information can be worse than none. Ease of access considers the rate at which people search for, understand, and process information, which varies from person to person.
And the future seems…
The key to making the client feel heard and valued is instilling empathy, personalized experiences, and timely resources at every touch point of the treatment process. This gives patients and their caregivers, who make critical health decisions, the support and information they need; when they need it most. Think of the level of engagement of a customer ordering lunch from a touch screen; It’s a completely unique experience right down to extra pickles. Imagine similar consideration given to patients and their caregivers who make critical health decisions. It’s too early to tell if the healthcare industry is about to adopt a retail-style customer focus; however, if we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is that patients are now realizing that much more is possible. And facing a chronic illness generates the highest expectations and the need for support in real time. How will health respond?
Sunny White is an editorial advisory board member for Pharma Marketing Network with hands-on experience helping pharmaceutical marketers improve their promotional material to meet the unique needs of patients and caregivers while remaining compliant. Sunny’s BOLDOLOGISTS team at Xavier Creative House strives to infuse strategic healthcare solutions with meaningful technology to improve the accessibility of information that changes patient behavior.
Connect at linkedin.com/in/sunnywhite/
- World Health Organization. The IMPORTANCE of PHARMACOVIGILANCE Drug Safety Surveillance. 2002. Accessed June 18, 2022. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/42493/a75646.pdf