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Three ways pharma companies can increase awareness of patient services​

Patients around the world told us which patient services they value and when and how they enhance their patient experience.

As our 2014 survey of 2,000 US patients uncovered, patients expect pharmaceutical companies to provide services that help them manage their health.

But where across the patient journey are services most wanted? What are patients’ greatest frustrations and concerns? And do patients with different types of diseases want different services?

These are just a few of the questions that Accenture’s 2015 survey of 10,000 patients in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Brazil addressed. This survey revealed several eye-opening results and insights, including:

  1. Patients want more help before they are being treated. Our global survey found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of all patients surveyed said that the pre-treatment interval is the most frustrating period for them. Their single biggest frustration (34%) was the lack of notification of being “at risk” for a condition.

  2. Patients are generally not aware of the services that are available to help them. Less than one in five patients (19 percent) are aware of services available to them. The awareness is low across all therapeutic areas, ranging from a low of 18 percent for bone, lung and heart conditions to a slightly higher 21 percent for cancer and immune diseases.

  3. When patients are aware of services, they use them. Our survey found that 58 percent of patients use services when they are aware of them. While usage of specific patient services varies, utilization is still generally high across all services provided. The use of services ranged from a high of 69 percent for services that helped patients obtain information on a condition, to a low of 47 percent for information on support groups.

  4. Patients value services across all disease states. 79 percent of survey respondents said that the services they used were “‘very” or “extremely” valuable. This high level of satisfaction is seen across all disease states, ranging from life-threatening in the cases of cancer or heart problems, to chronic conditions such as auto-immune or hormonal disorders.

  5. Patients want their healthcare professionals to be the primary source of information on services they need to manage their health, but digital channels play a key role as well. 87 percent of patients wanted a single point of contact to provide a service to help them manage their condition. 85 percent preferred that single source to be their healthcare professionals. In addition, while in-person visits were the preferred way for patients to get information on their condition (67 percent), digital is gaining ground with 57 percent of respondents citing this as a critical channel.

Implications for pharmaceutical companies
There is a clear opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to increase their value to patients by increasing awareness, and ultimately use of patient services—and to start doing so much earlier in the patient journey. Specifically, pharmaceutical companies should consider:

  1. Offering pre-treatment services to become the “go to” resource from the start of the patient journey.

  2. Targeting key healthcare professionals to increase patient awareness of available services.

  3. Investing as much in the communication and coordination of the services as they do in building them.

For more on these three implications for pharma and to view our full survey, interactive infographic and country specific results, please visit: Patient services – pharma’s best kept secret.