Can pharmaceutical companies play a bigger role in the patient care life cycle?
We recently surveyed 2,000 patients in Brazil and found that the timing of when services are provided during the patient journey is a critical issue for patients. The majority of Brazilian patients (74 percent) noted that pre-treatment is the most frustrating period for them.
Reasons for this frustration vary, but include a lack of reliable information on how to better manage their condition, difficulty getting appointments at convenient times and lack of help understanding alternative or holistic health remedies. But for 39 percent of patients, their single biggest frustration is the lack of help they receive to ensure their medical history is up-to-date and complete so that they can share it with all their healthcare professionals.
During the pre-treatment phase, patients are confused and anxious about the symptoms they are experiencing. They fear the unknown and typically have many unanswered questions. Knowing that their medical history is current is one way they can gain feelings of control and confidence in an uncomfortable and stressful situation. This is also a stage at which patients are receptive and willing to engage. They want a great deal of information quickly on everything, including an understanding of the effects of potential interventions and treatment options.
Yet many pharmaceutical companies are targeting services later in the patient care cycle, after a patient starts treatment, missing this opportunity to connect. Just providing patient services at distinct parts of the patient journey versus throughout the entire journey limits effectiveness and creates an opening for competitors to enter and gain patient attention and loyalty.
Companies that recognize the need for complementary services could position themselves for earlier and better patient engagement, and help patients manage their own health and individual outcomes. By offering pre-treatment services, including help with keeping medical histories up-to-date, pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to become the “go to” resource from the start of the patient journey. And those who stake this claim early are very likely to secure a first-mover advantage making it much harder for other companies to break in.