In 2015, 204.1 million Indians had a smartphone, and for the first time the searches from mobile phone outnumbered the searches from a desktop computer on Google. 1 in 20 searches today on Google is for health information. Digital engagement is now a fundamental part of how patients, providers, caregivers, pharmacists and others live their lives.
In this article we will try to explore “how digitalization opens a new world of opportunities for patient engagement”.
Before digitalization, patient engagement was an area of no interest for the pharmaceutical industry. But now we cannot afford to ignore this area. Today the patients are demanding more of a say in the type of care they receive, the medicines that are being developed, how the medicines are being applied on them and what the regulatory pathway should be.
When you put all this together, it is clear that there needs to be a brand new level of deeper engagement with the patient, starting from the very early path of development all the way up to commercialization of the molecule. The real challenge is in coinciding these stages in development with digital technology and social media.
The leadership team plays a very crucial role as the incumbent to integrate social media and digital technology in all the operations.
For the pharmaceutical industry, this presents a challenge. The traditional commercial approach of humongous field force, promotion to physicians and relatively uninformed patients is untoward.
Companies are failing to engage with patients at a primordial stage when the patients are seeking for answers to a symptom or a trouble caused due to a specific condition.
For example, a recent YouTube search for “psoriasis” produced among its top 100 results not a single video sponsored by the pharmaceutical company. The first 2 video had about 5,00,000 views each.
To connect with patients when they are looking for answers, pharma companies need to design new approaches based on understanding of patient’s experiences and how they make decision.
To conclude we would suggest that the top management along with promotion to the doctors (“PUSH”) should also consider reaching out to the patients, this is made easy by the surging pace at which technology is being adopted by the patients and in the further articles we shall take a deeper dive into the Digital Transition specific to the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Watch the discussion to understand the patient-centric digital transformation:
Guest Contribution : Jeslin George
The author is a management student at NMIMS, Mumbai and has interned with Medulla Communications