Why does Pharma Need to Relook at its Patient Engagement and Support Strategies?


Recently, I was reading Luca Dezzani’s article “Patient Engagement: A Key Element in Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategy.”

The article prompted me to think about how pharma companies continue to think about and discuss the idea of Patient Engagement, and ultimately what they can do to improve their own efforts in improving the Patient Journey concept.

In Best Practices’ ongoing discussions with pharma executives, the most important concept that I have heard on this subject is the idea of reaching patients and their advocates at the right moment in time.

It has been described as “Right Care, Right Time, Right Place” and while many have adopted this phrase to codify the idea of improving patient outcomes, it also drives home the point that patients are more involved in their healthcare decisions than ever before. As such, pharma companies and health care providers must begin to think of patients as partners.

In fact, nowadays, patients expect to be involved in their healthcare decisions. As they have greater influence, companies must focus on Patient Engagement and Support activities to differentiate themselves from others.

Pharma companies must choose the when and how to engage with patients to not only have a meaningful impact on the patient care but also to ensure that the patient remembers the interaction. This is why support and engagement programs are so crucial now.

Our study, “Patient-Focused Marketing: Engagement Milestones Along the Patient Journey,” showed that companies have begun to engage patients along a continuum – known as the Patient Journey. What our research found is that companies spread their spend across the six stages of the Patient Journey, focusing on those places where there drugs will matter most. The percentages next to stages represent the total Patient Marketing spend for each stage.

Patient Engagement Marketing Spend

There are also other means by which pharma can better engage with patients.

Nearly all companies in the study reported providing physician education and starting advocacy partnerships.

In fact, 89% of U.S. companies said that HCP education and tools in support of patients were their main Patient-Focused activities. The second most common activity was partnerships with patient advocacy groups and associations. As Dezzani points out, partnerships with advocacy groups also plays a critical role. In crowded markets, factors besides efficacy and safety influence patient preferences.

Pharma companies have shown a greater willingness to work with patients than in years past. As patients become more informed and educated, the idea of working with them along the patient journey will be even more critical.


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