Virtual reality therapy. Prescription video games. Robotic pets. Technology solutions designed to increase patient engagement are getting increasingly innovative and hold tremendous promise for improving patient outcomes and helping pharmaceutical companies produce better, safer and more effective drugs. But there is also a potentially unforeseen benefit of what we like to call “Patient Engagement Technology 2.0”—the hope and promise that these solutions will become a catalyst for the adoption of personalized medicines. But first, a brief look at …
We all know that pharma companies have pivoted marketing strategies towards a patient-centric approach for years now. That’s not new, and the facts are pretty clear: People who take an active role in their treatment often have better outcomes than those who do not. And engaged patients help pharma companies produce better products, which helps companies become a trusted resource that enables healthy living. Wins all around!
Of course, global pharma companies – and those aspiring to be one – recognize establishing universal patient engagement strategies is not easy due to a variety of factors including cultural differences, healthcare infrastructures and varying regulations across North America, Europe and other developed and developing nations. Common elements of a current pharma patient engagement strategy include: 1) patient support groups, 2) mobile apps, 3) social media campaigns, 4) patient education programs and (5) wearable technology. From a regional perspective:
A recent research study estimates the patient engagement technology solutions market will grow annually at a 20% clip from its current $10 billion+ market size. Mobile apps, telemedicine and wearable devices are known technology solutions that are already proving to be effective patient engagement tools.
The growing need to find even more unobtrusive and simple ways for patients to engage in their health decisions will result in more innovative technology solutions. Enter Patient Engagement Technology 2.0 solutions.
Functionally these solutions will be designed to fit into patients’ lives even more seamlessly than earlier patient engagement tools. However, challenges may arise that question whether the solutions are technologically too advanced to be readily adopted. The successful implementation of advanced technology solutions will require a thorough understanding of existing patient behavior and decision-making often obtainable from behavioral science (BeSci) investigations. Such investigations would reveal a deep understanding of motivations and barriers with respect to advanced technology-driven patient engagement solutions, enabling pharma companies to develop effective communication messaging to drive adoption.
Escalent has been using secondary research to monitor developments in the pharma industry across the globe, and we have been watching five uniquely innovative technologies emerge:
Personalized medicine tailors medical treatments to individual patients based on their genetic makeup, lifestyle, and other factors. However, the adoption of personalized medicine has been slow due to various challenges, including the complexity of genetic testing, data management, and patient education.
The newer breed of patient engagement technology solutions is a highway of two-way communication that is socializing patient behavior to freely give highly personal information in order to receive personalized care guidance. Is it much of a stretch to believe that by the time the challenges of genetic testing ease, patients’ behavior of engaging with pharma and other life sciences organizations on such a personal level could bolster trust among patients to share their genetic data with such entities? We don’t think so.
A survey conducted by the Personalized Medicine Coalition found that 79% of Americans were interested in personalized medicine but only 54% were willing to share their genetic data for research purposes. The prevailing thought is as patients become more involved in their personal care and become more comfortable sharing their personal medical histories to technology solutions, there is a growing chance that enough trust will be generated for patients to become more comfortable sharing their data for research purposes. Patient Engagement Technology 2.0 could therefore become a catalyst for the adoption of personalized medicines.
The growing emphasis on patient engagement programs is a win for patients, healthcare professionals and pharma companies alike. Engaged patients live healthier lives, HCPs receive near-real time information to better serve their patients, and pharma companies receive timely aggregated patient feedback to produce better medicines.
As Patient Engagement Technology 2.0 seamlessly becomes a norm for patient care, will it also become the catalyst personalized medicine needs to become more mainstream? I suspect the answer will emerge within the next decade, but I think it’s going to be just what the doctor ordered.
Learn more about the solutions that will spark adoption of personalized medicines.