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May 22, 2015
Global patient services survey: 10,000 participants share their patient experience
By: Tony Romito

10,000 patients across the globe reveal their unmet service needs during the patient journey

Accenture commissioned a survey of 10,000 patients from the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil on the role and use of patient services in enhancing the patient experience with a focus on their unmet needs across seven therapeutic areas. The results revealed that patients are generally unaware of the services currently available to them. When they are aware, they use them and greatly value them. It also revealed that they want services much earlier in the patient journey–even before they are even treated for a disease.

When are patient services most needed?

The most significant frustration emerged in the period before treatment for 65 percent of patients surveyed. The greatest frustration being having little indication of being at risk for a medical condition (34 percent). Prior to diagnosis, without any indications of at-risk status, patients have no reason to seek information on medication conditions; after symptoms emerge, anxiety and uncertainty are significant obstacles to clear understanding, and can lead to significant delays in medical attention, even delaying diagnosis and treatment.

Potential patients are ready to enter early into the process of understanding where they are at risk, what various early symptoms could indicate and what potential interventions and treatments might be appropriate. Accenture's research suggests they want help identifying if they are at risk and services to help support them pre-diagnosis.

Awareness of patient services

On average, less than one out of five patients are aware of the services available to them. While this does vary by therapeutic area, even high-touch fields such as cancer and immune disorders, awareness rarely surpasses twenty percent across all countries surveyed. Although pharmaceutical companies are working to develop and provide patient services, awareness of such services is remarkably low.

High usage, and high value

When patients are aware of services available to them, most (6 out of 10) take advantage of the opportunity. For example, when obtaining information about their specific condition, nearly 70 percent of patients use the disease education services available. Patients are also particularly interested in information on medical specialists, treatment options, symptom management and insurance coverage.

The value of these services is consistently highly rated by patients. Overwhelmingly, the majority of respondents to our survey (79 percent) said the services they used were "very" or "extremely" valuable. Understandably, the precise majority differed by therapeutic group, but in every case a strong majority assigned great value to patient services.

So this all begs the questions:

Why aren’t patients more aware of the services that are out there today? Could it lie in how they are being communicated to patients?

Is there a missed opportunity to provide services before patients are diagnosed? Could that enable pharmaceutical companies to engage earlier with patients and engender greater engagement?

In my next post I'll tackle these important questions and more.

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