When pharma companies first began to introduce digital tools and strategies into the marketing mix, they relied heavily on e-details, which simply enabled them to highlight the facts, features and benefits of a brand or product online.
However, digital tools have rapidly evolved since then, enabling pharma to access a wealth of real-world information at the touch of a button, and incorporate it into personalised, interactive electronic resources, such as iPad applications.
These resources can go way beyond a simple product description to highlight the impact of a disease on a local health economy and show how a therapy could save money and improve patient outcomes.
“Armed with this in-depth level of insight and understanding, pharma can begin to assess how a therapy can add value across the whole care pathway”
For example, digital tools now enable pharma to assist their customers to quickly search a wide variety of data within a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) footprint to identify the needs of a particular patient population and determine how value can be increased through transformation. They can also compare and contrast how any particular local health economy compares against another, or indeed against ‘best practice’ for their organisational footprint.
Pharma can also compare the cost of current and alternative treatment scenarios over a defined period of time using electronic budget impact models. This can help them to assess the effect of a disease on a local health economy and identify where there is overspend and poor outcomes.
These insights can be enhanced by real-world data from freely available sources – such as NHS RightCare, which is helping Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to identify where they are wasting money on sub-optimal healthcare and define how products and services could be changed in order to improve outcomes and save money.
Armed with this in-depth level of insight and understanding, pharma can begin to assess how a therapy can add value across the whole care pathway or even help the NHS to save money and improve outcomes by changing the way care is delivered. This might be due a reduction in side effects, or because it can be administered in a patient’s home.
When thinking in this way, pharma should also consider the use of digital tools and educational resources for patients – such as glucose monitoring kits for diabetics and mobile apps that promote healthy lifestyles – and how they could add wider value by helping to monitor and prevent diseases.
In essence, digital tools are helping pharma to take a holistic approach to sales and develop compelling propositions that demonstrate a strategic understanding of where a product fits into the overall care pathway, and how it could bring cost savings and improve patient outcomes in the long run.
Tony Cox is Innovation Director at Wilmington Healthcare
Go to wilmingtonhealthcare.com
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