Digital Services Are of Increasing Importance to Patients
Select patient services are highly valued and yet severely underserved, underutilized or nonexistent. However, those patients who receive services like them and greatly value them, according to an Accenture survey of 2,000 patients in the United States.
The survey found that those who don't receive them want to—and expect pharmaceutical companies to provide them either directly or through their health care providers.
Further, patients are perfectly happy receiving these services through digital channels or enabled by them, as they are spending multiple hours a day online already.
For example, Vree Health, a subsidiary of Merck, launched a unique suite of services leveraging technology to help engage patients in their own care in a variety of care settings. Their services are designed to help hospitals and health systems implement innovative models of care aimed at improved quality and outcomes at a lower cost.
More than three-quarters (76 percent) of patients think pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to provide information and services that help patients manage their own health.
Nearly as many respondents, 74 percent, indicated that the most appropriate time to initiate outreach is when they start making a medication, although half of the respondents are open to receiving assistance after they have begun a course of treatment or are considering switching.
The report also indicated that patients are generally very satisfied with patient services when they get them—and are willing to give more personal health information to obtain more relevant services.
Of the patients who receive services, a sizable majority (70 to 80 percent) express satisfaction with all the services used.
In addition, patients appear to place high importance on services, providing a strong indication that services are viewed as a "should offer" not a "nice to offer" add-on—dependent on the type of medicine or treatment.
Patients are also ready and willing to share information in order to receive improved or free services, the survey found.
Eighty percent of patients are proactively seeking information about the medicines they are taking, and more than 70 percent seek out information on health care services related to their conditions.
Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) want pharmaceutical companies to reach them through social media—a significantly higher percentage than what they want from physicians, pharmacists, friends and family.
"There is a clear need for pharmaceutical companies to understand patient communication preferences and customize channels and content to provide relevant customer experiences at scale," the report said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, patients place the highest trust in information provided by their physicians through print (presumably in person or at a facility) or by email.