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January 29, 2014
Patients are increasingly going digital—the implications for pharma
By: Shawn Roman

Digital technologies and services have changed how patients conduct their daily lives. Today, patients can access their medical information online. What’s more, those that don’t have access are willing to take matters into their own hands, switching physicians to gain that access. Accenture recently surveyed more than 9,000 adults to better understand the engagement levels of patients across nine countries.

For pharma companies, three findings emerged which have the most potential to affect their businesses:

  • Patients are increasingly going digital. Digital technology has not only changed how patients conduct their daily lives, it has changed patients’ expectations. For example, in the United States, 41 percent of consumers are willing to switch doctors to gain online access to their electronic medical records (EMRs). Pharma companies need to anticipate what expectations patients will have about engaging with them in a digital way.

  • Patients want to refill prescriptions online. More than three-quarters—76 percent—of US consumers say requesting prescription refills electronically is important to them.

  • Patients are taking an active role in managing their health. Consumers in the United States most commonly track their health history (37 percent), followed by their physical activity or diet (34 percent) and health indicators, such as weight and blood pressure (33 percent). These figures underscore the value pharma companies’ digital and medication adherence programs could bring to patients.

Digital is not simply a new channel—it has the opportunity to deliver improved outcomes for patients around the world. The opportunity for pharma companies now is to revolutionize the ways they attract and engage with customers to create lasting and profitable relationships. Clearly, patients are ready and waiting.

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