The Digital Pharma Approach; Making Patients Active Participants

Digital Pharma Approach

In the last decade, pharma companies have been increasingly looking for investment opportunities in technologies that can help increase impact and improve bottom lines. Patient health outcomes remain at the core of these innovation plans, but for strategies to be viable and sustainable, they must justify company ROI. Patient Support Programs (PSPs), a key driver for success with an ever-increasing patient centric ecosystem, satiate both clinical and business needs while putting the patient at the center. And many PSPs can be driven digitally quite successfully, solving for different company objectives. 

So, what exactly is a digital PSP? 

The first seeds for digital PSPs typically involved nurse-led call centers using first-generation digital technologies like texts, alerts and emails delivered in a standardized way for small patient populations. 

Now, digital PSPs have evolved into holistic platform-based approaches. These not only include a mobile or a website patient interface but are also built on cloud-based platforms that integrate and allow a seamless flow of information across many stakeholders. Some integrate tools and devices as well for a more convenient customer experience. 

Digital PSPs today can successfully drive awareness through patient education and support, better manage adverse events through online guidance on drug administration, achieve better medication adherence through education and reminder services or provide condition management support through integrated services. 

Here are 5 ways how digital PSPs are changing the way Pharma functions: 

By making the patient an active participant 

Patient behaviour has changed over the last 20 years. They are more informed than ever before. Patients want health solutions that fit into their lives, offer personalised care and deliver measurable results. Digital platforms offer patients the chance to opt-in. They can be a part of the solution and operate with ease when and where they would like to be involved. Empowering the patient to play an active role in their care means actioning behaviour changes that positively influence health outcomes.    

By changing the patient-doctor relationship

The age of the connected patient is here! Pharma-Digital health partnerships work to offer a combination therapy. Doctors who prescribe a particular drug can also prescribe the value-added digital patient support programme. For doctors, it is a chance to offer continuous care to patients with chronic conditions who need real-time guidance and support. For patients, it’s an extension of their care plan with personalised support that ties into their doctor’s treatment plan. 

By driving scalable, personalized care 

Some digital PSPs which capture extensive patient reported data feed AI/ ML based insights that can deliver customized tailored patient experiences according to patient behaviours. It creates a feedback loop with digital nudges and healthier suggestions which are impactful when actioned in real time. This is especially relevant where reaching Tier 2 and 3 towns traditionally present its own share of ROI challenges. Digital solutions are able to circumvent such barriers and deliver personalised support to patients without the active participation of a physical team. This means scaling up at minimum costs and reduced operational complexities. 

By improving medication adherence 

Digital reminders that store details about medication schedules and offer nudges at pill time are an easy win. When patients are more engaged with their treatment plan, they are more likely to follow their prescriptions. This means taking medicines on time, in the right dosage and following up for refills. Real World Evidence has proven that patient support programmes with education and reminder services can ensure upto a 100% higher medication adherence and correspondingly improved health outcomes. 

By being able to positively measure impact on patient outcomes 

Digitization in the healthcare ecosystem is gradually bringing multiple facets like drug, device, hospital system, HCP, diagnostic, patient and caregiver to function like a holistic unit of care. These synchronously work towards improving overall patient outcomes. Digital PSPs especially can play integrators, generate evidence in real world settings, and accelerate the journey to better patient health. As when the patient wins, everyone wins. 

Digital therapeutics (DTx) deliver evidence-based therapeutic interventions to patients. That means that they use digital delivery to further already proven clinical guidelines that are safe and effective. Their patient support feature focuses on personalising the experience for each user ensuring patients are engaged in their own treatment, increasing adherence and influencing positive behaviour change. Scaling up is cost-effective with greater access to geographies and demographics that were until now not financially viable markets to tap.  

And most importantly, DTx elevates the pharma company from a faceless manufacturer of medicines to an even more relevant health partner in the patient journey.