Turning Patients onto Tablet PCs - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Turning Patients onto Tablet PCs
Tablets in the waiting room speed up the check-in process while providing health information to patients

Pharmaceutical Executive


How do you present this system to the patient?

At the end of the intake, we present an interactive, targeted point-of-care message. It takes up a good portion of the screen, but it's not a banner ad. It's interactive. So it's like taking the screen and delivering a message that speaks to that patient at that moment in time. And it could just be three things to talk to your doctor about. Or it could be a sign-up page for the brand's program.

Can you give me an example of how this technology can be used to market to patients?

A good example would be hypertension. We are working with a pharma company that wants to help the patient understand the therapy they're on and understand questions or topics that they want to talk about with their physician. Questions include, "Do you understand what high blood pressure means? Do you feel comfortable that your blood pressure is under control? Do you understand that adherence for blood pressure is probably one of the most important things, so once you get your blood pressure under control you want to keep it under control?"

At what point does the marketing component come into play?

In this specific example, the pharma company is stressing a hypertension program. This marketer understands that by driving the specific conversation, it's been able to significantly increase the total market size in that practice and, thus, its slice of it. Because the pharma company was able to drive specific questions about long-term hypertension care, it was able to move people to more-specific therapies. The company's name and the name of the program were also prominently displayed on the screen. Awareness of this program increased by 63 percent in an independent study among clinicians, because patients were asking about this specific program. Dialogue between physicians and patients regarding hypertension increased 76 percent, which led to a significant increase in prescriptions.

What's the reaction been from doctors and patients?

The reaction from physicians has been incredible. Patients are excited that their doctors are finally adopting technology and that they, themselves, are being involved in the process in the waiting room—there's nothing worse than the 30 minutes of wasted time. In turn, doctors are now able to involve their patients in the clinical process and just get better clinical information.

What does a system like this cost, and who pays for it?

There is no cost to the doctor. We're building up the network, and then pharmaceutical companies pay only for the right to advertise. So it's like any other advertising program. Pharma companies tend to pay for a percentage of the patients in a physician's practice. They would never pay for the whole kit and caboodle. No one company is a sole advertiser.

What is the cost compared with other marketing opportunities, such as posters or health-information pamphlets?

For the impact it has, it's significantly more cost-effective. With a pamphlet, the patient has to go search out the material. And doctors don't have information for every possible ailment. So when you're sitting in the doctor's office, and you are a diabetic male, you might not want the pamphlet on erectile dysfunction. Or, even if you have diabetes, that doesn't necessarily mean you're searching for a better way to control your blood sugar. I often hear people say, "I'm still fighting to keep my cholesterol in line, and I take Lipitor." And I say to myself, These people just don't necessarily know that there are other therapies that could get it down 5, 10, 20 percent more.


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