A recent report from Accenture found that patients are unlikely to focus on specific brands when they are making decisions about healthcare. In a survey of 8,000 international respondents, 69 percent said they paid more attention to the specific benefits of a product than which life sciences company produced it. Patients are instead influenced by factors such as their relationships with their doctors, the potential impact on their lifestyles and how easily they can access the necessary care.
At the same time, patients are likely to switch up medication when they are aware of viable options. Among individuals who said they had at least considered altering their approach to treatment, 62 percent went through with these changes. The disconnect lies in education: Just 38 percent of patients considered themselves knowledgeable about new products that might be applicable to their conditions, and only a minority of 48 percent believe their doctors tell them about all possible product options.
To promote their brands under these conditions, insurance payers and life sciences marketing and sales staff must emphasize their efforts to provide physicians and patients with plentiful information about products and disease states.
The information that medical professionals and patients need
“Educational materials are a powerful means for building better relationships.”
Getting extensive educational materials out to physicians and the public is a powerful means for payers and marketing teams at pharmaceutical and medical device firms to build better relationships. Doctors rely on a wealth of data and clinical research when making purchasing decisions and discussing their treatment recommendations. Having plenty of clearly understandable information on hand at every juncture is thus vital to both medical professionals and the patients who need to understand the benefits and risks of all their options.
Among the 734 doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants surveyed for the 2018 edition of Annual Healthcare Provider Communication Report conducted by Healthlink Dimensions, more than 77 percent were interested in continuing medical education programs, and about 51 percent in hearing about industry-sponsored educational events. Just under 50 percent said they preferred to receive updates on products from organizations, and over 48 percent expressed their appreciation for patient-oriented educational materials.
As these figures suggest, life sciences businesses can form valuable long-term connections by passing along an array of informative collateral. About 79 percent of healthcare providers said they make use of the patient education and support materials provided by healthcare companies and patient advocacy organizations. By offering these types of educational pieces both in print and online, companies maximize their accessibility.
Physicians are particularly interested in hearing more from insurance companies. Only 28 percent say they are currently receiving regular updates, and 48 percent are dissatisfied with communications about drug formulary coverage and co-pay schedules. Insurance payers can begin to bridge this gap by providing information for patients concerning insurance reimbursements and drug formulary coverage, which 68 percent of medical professionals say would be useful.
Effectively connecting with physicians
A strategic medical email marketing campaign lies at the center of successful efforts to educate doctors and patients about life sciences products. Doctors say that email is the best way to get in touch with them, and these contacts can be the beginning of a long-term relationship that includes sharing crucial treatment information and growing sales over time.The key to making education-driven email communications a success is quality business intelligence.
To communicate with healthcare providers, organizations must have access to a database with current and complete contact information. Dispatching emails to up-to-date addresses is an indispensable start to an engagement strategy. This can be an especially pressing concern since doctors commonly change their email addresses any time they move from institution to another.
Institutional affiliations also affect what educational materials and products are most likely to capture the attention of medical professionals. Organizations need to account for the widely varied demographics that doctors may serve and develop collateral accordingly. Each physician’s area of specialization also affects what conditions he or she is likely to see and preferred methods of managing them.
With thorough segmentation, life sciences firms can create more appealing communications and offer better support for treatment. Digging into the detailed findings gathered from insurance claims may reveal a great deal about how information should be composed and presented to specific audiences. Just like doctors and patients, life sciences firms and insurance payers benefit from having as much information as possible on their side.