The vast majority of patients believe that pharmaceutical companies should provide services that complement the products they provide, whether they are taking long-term, short-term or lifestyle medications, a new US study has found.
76% of patients not only want such patient services but they expect them and look to pharmaceutical companies to be part of the solution, according to management consultancy Accenture, which conducted the research.
Patient who are receiving such services value them greatly and are eager to use them, but for many patients these programmes are not available. For example, while 63% of those surveyed said they want to participate in customer rewards programmes, only 10% report being offered the opportunity to do so.
Also, 51% of patients say they want financial assistance but only 10% receive it, while 35% want measuring and tracking alerts, such as monitoring of blood glucose levels, but just 20% receive them, and 53% say they want product information but 48% are receiving it.
These findings indicate that there is “tremendous opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to become more engaged with the patients they treat and truly understand how to help deliver a better patient outcome,” said Shawn Roman, managing director in Accenture’s life sciences industry group.
And this process can start early - 74% of those polled said that outreach by pharmaceutical companies to patients should be initiated as soon as people start taking a medication, he added.
Patients polled across all three groups - long-term, short-term and lifestyle medications - rated the most important services to them to be: product information - 73%; financial assistance - 64%; reward programmes - 60%; physician referrals - 55%; and nurse support via telephone - 45%.
Nearly 64% of patients said they would be willing to provide information on their health to pharmaceutical companies if that would enable them to receive free information or services. And their communications preferences for receiving information from drugmakers are: email - 69%; printed materials - 66%; website - 48%; mobile apps - 44%; social media - 38%; and live support - 35%.
“Consumer-facing industries provide a wide range of information through digital channels, so it is natural that patients’ preference is switching to digital methods of communication, particularly if it is available at the moment of need,” noted Mr Roman.
”Pharmaceutical companies need to understand what patients truly value in services for their particular health need and how to best deliver them in a cost-effective, meaningful way. This opens up the opportunity to deliver a range of new outcome-based programmes for patients through greater collaboration with the broader healthcare system including payers, providers, physicians and government,” he added.