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Patient support programs (PSPs) have an opportunity for growth and innovation.
Conditions are ripe for a renaissance in patient support programs (PSPs). Brands are under pressure to demonstrate value by delivering outcomes to justify pricing and grow revenues, and patients support programs offer a path to deliver this value through adherence, persistence, and patient satisfaction.
The pharmaceutical patient support vendor landscape is burgeoning with new-to-world tools offering cross-channel-consumer experiences which integrate behavior change principles, advanced data, and digital technologies. Furthermore, many of these providers can shorten development cycles to three-to-four months from 18 months or more, by leveraging re-usable components and ways of working. Think: social/peer support, smart messaging, content management, machine learning, rapid journey design, agile code development, accelerated review cycles, rapid design, and testing. Finally, innovations in data science and real-world data offer firms the ability to directly measure the outcomes impact of patient interventions, a feat which was elusive even a decade ago.
As with much of digital transformation in pharmaceuticals, we witness pockets of PSP innovation in specific markets and only a small number of leading pharmaceutical companies who are building scalable fourth generation patient support experiences and realizing tangible benefits.1 Many Pharmaceutical companies are offering primarily second or third generation programs, and struggle to scale the isolated third or fourth generation innovations they have.
We observe several barriers that explain the current situation:
To overcome these barriers and realize the promise of patient engagement, we recommend pharma patient engagement teams (global and local) together with brand champions and senior leadership sponsors consider the following actions:
Recommendations one and two will help you shape the environment in your company for PSP innovation. Recommendations three to six will help you build a patient experience strategy that is aligned to patient needs, has scale and speed to market built-in from the start, and is more likely to get funded.
Good architects know the importance of the adage: “measure twice, cut once.”
The opportunity for patient support innovation is large and growing. The business need is there, the patient need is there, the vendor landscape is there. What’s needed are more innovative programs that get funded. We hope the planning recommendations will inform and inspire bold patient engagement leaders and enable their patient support programs to deliver high quality patient experiences efficiently at scale.
Jonathan Olsen, Independent Consultant, Patient Engagement Technology Expert, Member, The Stem