Engaging the empowered patient

Success requires addressing behaviour from the individual’s perspective, as well as a socio-cultural and environmental context, says Andy Stankus, Kantar’s general manager, Health Division

To improve the value of healthcare solutions, we must better understand the empowered person living with a condition and how that person proactively manages that condition in their daily life. What’s more, in today’s evolving healthcare world, it’s all about health outcomes. The shift from products to outcomes is being driven by a variety of factors, including globalisation, demographic changes, healthcare reforms, health IT advances, and an insatiable appetite for value-centricity.

In our research, we’ve found that it’s best to address behaviour from the perspective of not only the individual, but also from a socio-cultural and environmental context. The result is unique insights and a complete picture of the person that fosters significant advances for improving real-world outcomes.

The many faces of healthcare consumers

There is a pressing need in healthcare for greater insight into the many faces of today’s diverse healthcare consumers. That means we must develop and leverage strategies to gain a deep understanding of the healthcare ecosystem and the healthcare consumer as a complete person.

These strategies must incorporate three factors:

Experience – First, start by always listening to the voice of the healthcare consumer, as this is the best source for gathering an individual’s experience regarding their condition or overall wellness. Primary research is a great way to collect the details of their thoughts and emotions in a stated and derived way. Additionally, qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys, social media listening and other patient information sources provide rich opportunities to truly hear the voice of the complete person.

Evidence – Next, we must contextualise any new findings through evidence. Observational healthcare studies contain crucial evidence about patient behaviours. Work on patient engagement can also include clinical research and real-world outcomes portfolios, activity and biometric monitoring work, non-interventional studies, linked and fused clinical data (claims & EHR), and epidemiology and ethnographic studies.

Expertise – Finally, you must integrate all of this research to create new and transformational insights. In-depth expertise and knowledge about behavioural science allows for the interpretation of behaviours based on proven explanations of motivation.

Truly understanding a disease burden, the healthcare consumer journey, or behaviour of your specific segment compared to the general population or relevant cohorts is only attainable through data from healthcare consumers themselves.
Elements that support your clinical decisions and expose the dynamics of the marketplace throughout the product lifecycle include: primary research (qualitative and quantitative research); patient reported outcomes; social media listening; benefit-risk preference studies; activity and biometric monitoring; ethnographic studies, which allow researchers to observe ‘natural’ behaviours and witness first-hand the impact of the context in which behaviours take place; clinical and non-interventional studies that demonstrate the true value of medicines to all stakeholders; real-world and outcomes research; real-world data, including claims data, electronic health records and disease registries for performing market and scientific research; and epidemiology studies.

Medicine adherence and ‘patient modes’

To drive better medicine adherence and improve patient health, life science companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers need to place greater emphasis on the individual person’s health journey and acquire a better understanding of ‘patient modes’.

Modes, which are a relatively new concept in healthcare, describe the mindset that a patient is in at a particular point in time, and are part of everyone’s experience as a human being. And while everyone experiences modes in different ways, there’s a universal connection in that we all move through these modes in a fluid manner throughout the day, week, month and year.

By understanding which modes lead to better outcomes, life science companies can help people reach their goals of living better, healthier lives. Kantar’s qualitative research suggests there is a connection between patient modes and adherence, as certain modes may lead to a greater likelihood of adherence while others tend to cause people to drop off from taking their medications. By allowing a patient to set their own health goals, modes may help industry stakeholders, including pharmaceutical marketers and patients, take action for getting back into modes that lead to better adherence or avoid getting into modes that tend to cause poor adherence in the first place.

We believe that adherence improvement is driven by three forces:

1. Seeing personal results and improvements, as defined by the individual, is the strongest motivator of a given behaviour.

2. Employing digital technology that enables the use of advanced techniques to better understand what modes people go through, which modes are helpful and harmful, how to predict which modes are likely to be experienced in the near future, and how to interact with people to create ongoing, impactful communications that are specifically tailored to individuals.

3. Defining goals, including those around adherence, that are set by individuals, not a marketing team.

Finally, we believe a marketing team’s number one job is to help people achieve their goals. This includes making changes and adjustments to activities based on the individuals’ feedback about how to best interact and help them. Leveraging the benefits of patient modes is a key part of this equation, as they help life science and pharmaceutical companies provide the support that patients need to live healthier lives – either through better clinical outcomes, increased happiness, greater self-esteem or other key measures.

The drivers of health outcomes

In order for life science and pharmaceutical companies to optimise patient research needs and commercial opportunities, they’ll need to do a better job in their relationship with the healthcare consumer. By getting to the core of the healthcare consumer and the stakeholder’s experience, as well as their interactions within the healthcare ecosystem, we can truly understand all of the drivers of health outcomes and translate this knowledge into actionable insights for improving health around the world.

About the Author

Andy Stankus has more than 22 years of healthcare industry experience across global and emerging markets. Andy publishes research at international conferences. His work focuses on various therapeutic areas, including autoimmune, cardiovascular, CNS, dermatological, gastrointestinal, infectious disease, and metabolic, as well as topics such as patients’ attitudinal behaviour, health outcomes, clinically linked insights, and disease-specific cultural differences.

About Kantar

Kantar is the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company. We understand more about how people think, feel, shop, share, vote and view than anyone else. Combining our expertise in human understanding with advanced technologies, Kantar’s 30,000 people help the world’s leading organisations succeed and grow.

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