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Why pharma companies can’t ignore patient services

Accenture surveyed 2,000 US patients and found they value and expect patient services from pharma companies but are not always receiving them.

Overview

Accenture survey of 2,000 US patients found that select patient services are highly valued and yet often underserved, underutilized or nonexistent. However, for those patients that do receive services, they greatly value them.

Patients are exerting more influence than ever on their treatment decisions. Our survey revealed that patients don’t just want pharmaceutical companies to provide services that complement the products they sell—they expect them to do so. The survey also showed a surprising and significant gap in the services that patients want to get and those that they are receiving.

Patient services may be exactly what the doctor ordered for pharma companies to provide new outcome-based offerings to engage with patients and the broader healthcare ecosystem.

Background

Accenture retained Coleman Parkes Research to conduct an online survey of 2,000 patients in the US between September and October, 2013. Respondents were 18 years or above, with annual household income of $25,000 or above, and currently taking a short-term medicine (e.g., antibiotics, or migraine medication), a long-term medicine (such as those for treatment of diabetes, or high blood pressure), or a lifestyle medicine (e.g., birth control pills, or erectile dysfunction therapies).

The online questionnaires were completed at home, in private, and screeners and quotas were put in place to ensure quality of respondents and representation of the targeted population. The questions explored respondents’ perspectives on a variety of patient services, including information or education, financial assistance, reward programs, physician referrals and nurse support.

Key Findings

Here are the key results of our research:

  1. The vast majority of patients don’t just want patient services—they expect them. Seventy-six percent of patients believe that pharmaceutical companies should provide services that complement the products they sell. Demand for many patient services is high; however, supply is mixed with notable gaps in key services such as reward programs and financial systems. Patients indicated a strong preference for initial outreach from a pharmaceutical company to occur when they start taking a medication.

  2. Patients greatly value services when they get them. The satisfaction rate is high (ranging from 63 percent to 80 percent) for patients who receive and use services. Sixty-four percent of patients surveyed were willing to provide information on their health in order to receive free information and/or services proving patients' desire and willingness to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to obtain them.

  1. Patients are proactive, digitally enabled and continuously seek and consume health-related services from a variety of channels and sources. More than two-thirds of patients are online several hours a day. Eighty percent of patients surveyed are proactively seeking out information on their medications with a preference to receive information via e-mail over printed materials. With patients beginning increasingly preferring digital channels for outreach, pharmaceutical companies need to consider new methods of engaging with their patients with the intent of helping them achieve a better health outcome.