In my last post, I revealed that pharmaceutical companies are increasingly investing in digital technologies and supporting analytics. Another finding from our recent survey of 200 patient services executives in the United States and Europe, suggests that these investments tend to align with what patients value, except when they don’t.
Of the top ten patient services expected to grow the most in the future, only half align with what patients currently value most. There are some services where patient value greatly exceeds the intent to expand services. For example, medication delivery/support is highly valued by 85 percent of patients but the offering of the services is only expected to increase by 55 percent. Meanwhile, patient outreach, reminders and scheduling is highly valued by 79 percent of patients, but service offering is expected to expand by just 54 percent.
Patient services are in many ways “growing up.” In the early days, companies offered simple services such as disease education and copay cards. These services are now so common across companies they are no longer points of differentiation. Instead, as the field of patient services matures, leading companies in the space are seeking to invest in more innovative and technology-driven offerings. Over the last two years, for example, companies have begun to invest in more innovative services, such as remote monitoring.
Apart from aligning their investments to the services patients value most, pharmaceutical companies also face the challenge of who in the organization owns patient services. Often ownership is spread across organizations—even when it appears to have a person or group leading it.
Sixty-two percent of our survey respondents identified themselves as the head of patient services or patient experience. However, roughly three-quarters of respondents say that no single function has primary responsibility for patient services within their organization. In fact, on average, they told us that responsibility for patient services is spread over 2.5 functions—even when the company has a separate patient service or experience function.
For pharmaceutical companies, the first step is to recognize that patient services is becoming a competitive driver and are no longer optional nice-to-have. To set themselves on the path to success, companies must have a clear organizational and operating strategy in place for patient services—one that considers where investments should be made, which services patient’s value most and how digital technologies can be used to best improve patient outcomes.
To learn more, read: The Patient Is IN: Pharma’s Growing Opportunity in Patient Services