More than half of patients said pharmaceutical companies have less of an understanding of their health needs than patient advocacy groups.
Pharmaceutical companies should take a cue from patient advocacy groups to drive patient engagement, and even partner with those advocacy organizations to drive better patient experiences with treatment, according to a new survey from Accenture.
The survey, which included responses from 4,000 patients in the US and Europe, revealed that patients need more from pharmaceutical companies. Respondents, who had either migraine issues, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic lymphocytic leukemia, stated that the pharmaceutical companies that sell medications to manage their diseases are falling short on patient engagement.
Seventy-six percent of respondents agreed that pharma companies have a responsibility to provide engagement services that coincide with their medication offerings, but fewer than one in five patients are actually aware of any of these services.
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As 85 percent of pharmaceutical companies say they have plans to ramp up their patient engagement strategies in the coming 18 months, patients are saying they should take a page out of advocacy organizations’ books.
Patient advocacy groups are excelling at giving patients the information that they need to manage their conditions and learn about treatment options, the survey showed.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents from the US said patient advocacy groups understand their healthcare needs, compared to only 48 percent of patients who said the same about pharma groups. Patients rely on advocacy groups to learn more about their care and clinical trials, despite those subjects traditionally falling under pharmaceutical companies.
Patient advocacy groups likewise practice more extensive patient engagement, the survey added. Fifty-two percent of patients engage with an advocacy group at least once each month, while only 35 percent said they engage with pharma companies monthly.
Seventy-two percent of patients said they use the phone to interact with patient advocate groups, while 58 percent attend in-person events geared to improving the patient experience.
Pharmaceutical companies can improve care experiences for patients by partnering with patient advocacy groups, with 84 percent of patient respondents saying they’d prefer if the two groups worked together. Sixty-four percent of patients said they’d be willing to share more information with these groups if it would improve their healthcare experiences.
Most patients agreed that the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and patient advocate groups is more important than the relationship between advocacy groups and payers, providers, or pharmacists.
“These findings makes sense, given the more targeted nature of New Science — which is more personalized and often more complex in its treatment approach — and that delivering real impact requires a deeper understanding of the patient,” Eva Wiedenhöft, a managing director in Accenture’s Life Sciences practice, said in a statement. “In this regard, a stronger collaboration between pharma and patient organizations can provide benefits for both parties.”
Ultimately, patients believe a better relationship between pharmaceutical companies and patient advocate groups will make it easier for them to understand their treatments. Fifty-six percent of respondents said a strong partnership will result in more accessible information about their treatment and conditions, as well as make those treatments easier to obtain.
Fifty-four percent said they think a strong pharma-advocate partnership would drive personalized treatment.
“By increasing their association with patient organizations, pharma companies can get closer to patients and develop a much deeper understanding of them as people, not just patients,” concluded Keena Patel, a managing director in Accenture’s Life Sciences practice. “Our research revealed that people are engaging early and often with patient organizations — much earlier and more often than they do with pharma. Collaborating with one another could enable a much richer understanding of patient needs, earlier in the care process and potentially lead to creating entirely new services that dramatically increase the standard of care, particularly in the US.”
Date: August 13, 2019