Only 40% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) are ‘very aware’ of pharma companies’ patient services, and the reason HCPs cited most often for not discussing services with patients is that they lack a good understanding of what is available.
Most pharma companies (80%) rely on HCPs as the primary way to communicate their services to patients, but new research from Accenture finds HCPs’ lack of awareness is limiting the use of patient services (such as adherence programs and remote monitoring) offered by pharmaceutical companies. 85% of HCPs reported that they ‘only sometimes,’ ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ share information with patients about pharma patient services. As a result, only one in five patients are aware of services.
Where is the Communication Gap?
Sales reps rarely mention patient services during their meetings with HCPs. In fact, nearly half (46%) of the interviewed HCPs said they hear about patient services less than 25% of the time when they meet with sales reps; this was true across each of the six therapeutic areas included in the Accenture survey. The survey also found HCPs hear about patient services even less through other channels. Even though pharma companies are increasing their investment in patient services, they are not making the most of their investment because they are not doing enough to make HCPs aware of their offerings.
Pharma executives need to communicate patient services more frequently to HCPs and explain how they can improve patient outcomes. Some HCPs don’t even see reps, and those that do often have only a few minutes to meet with reps; therefore, training reps to talk more about patient services likely won’t solve the problem. Digital solutions such as webinars and emails are needed as additional points of contact to educate HCPs about patient services. How you present the services is also important. HCPs are primarily interested in encouraging patients to use the services if they can improve patient outcomes. Two-thirds of sales reps who do present patient services discuss them as an add-on to a pharma product rather than as part of a solution that improves patient outcomes. Sales reps, webinars and emails need to focus on how patient services can help HCPs by improving outcomes.
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