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Ask the right questions to achieve an outcome-based healthcare approach

Historically the pharmaceutical industry has measured the success of promotional spending by their ability to ensure that patients fill scripts. It’s time to move past that.

This week the Commonwealth Fund released a report ranking the U.S. last—among 11 other developed nations—in quality of healthcare, despite having the highest per-capita spending.

Payers—both private and, with the passage of healthcare reform, government funded programs—are reshaping how we pay for healthcare in America. If we in pharma marketing want to remain relevant in this new world, it’s time we take a broader, more outcomes-centric view of success, built on our ability to enable both better care and lower costs.

So how do we move to an outcomes-based approach? We can start by asking some simple questions:

  1. Are our adherence and support programs truly designed to improve patients’ health?
  2. Are we helping patients understand the risk factors associated with their conditions?
  3. Are we providing targeted interventions designed to stimulate positive health behavior?
  4. Does participation in our programs result in better health, lower health costs, and/or improved quality of life for patients?

If we can’t answer these questions with a resounding, “Yes” then we have some work to do.

Improving outcomes can benefit all stakeholders in our healthcare system. According to McKinsey, an outcomes-based view can reduce known sources of waste and inefficiency (i.e. redundant care, misuse, etc.), resulting in 10% or more decrease in spend.

Studies also show that patients who are actively engaged in their own healthcare will experience better outcomes and incur lower costs.

By actively engaged, I mean patients who are taking control of their own health management through steps—including participation in adherence programs—to promote positive patient behavior.

If we in pharma marketing can make the shift to thinking about adherence programs as tools to enable the good of patients, not just drive incremental refills, we’ll be on the right track to gaining their active engagement…and to realizing the benefits that come with that.

The ability to prove to patients that they’re more than a script, to demonstrate positive patient impact for healthcare providers, and to show payers that our brand’s value extends beyond the clinical benefits of the drug will be the keys to success for pharma marketers in this new healthcare world.

Want to learn more? Read our full perspective here.

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