The idea was first suggested to me by one of the most patient centric physicians that I have ever met, Dr. Frank Spinelli. Dr. Spinelli challenged the audience at a pharmaceutical marketing conference to help HCPs extend the impact of the patient visit using technology, helping merge the online and offline experiences.
Pharma companies that help healthcare providers extend their patient care will find themselves welcomed in the doctor’s office. Why? Follow the dollar: physician payments are increasingly linked to quality of patient care and outcomes.
So how can marketers plan to extend their point of care tactics outside the office? Begin by reimaging the planning process. Rather than the siloed Patient-Physician-Payer approach to planning, charge an integrated team with a mission to:
- Help prepare both the physician and patient for a productive office visit
- Enable the patient to easily obtain any required medicine
- Support and monitor the patient, after the visit
Rather than rush to the conclusion that “there’s an app for that,” take a step back. New ideas often start with new questions. Here are seven questions to prompt your team’s thinking about extending your point of care strategy beyond the office:
- What are the critical activities and information exchanges that must take place during the office visit?
- Would any activities or information exchanges prior to the appointment help improve the quality or efficiency of the in office experience?
- What are the barriers for different patient types to actually paying for and obtaining the prescribed medicine? How should patients and HCPs be talking about costs?
- Are there any other healthcare stakeholders—such as nurses, pharma reps, support groups, or associations—who could play a role before, during, or after the office visit?
- What can the physician uniquely contribute to the visit? Is it knowledge? Imparting a sense of caring or delivering peace of mind? Providing a solution?
- Are there different sort of “in-the-field” support people that could be provided? For example, clinical nurse educators or lay health workers?
- What follow-up activities would help ensure the physician treatment plan is monitored and adhered to? Is there any room for the new wearable technology?
Throwing a bunch of tactics together and hoping for the best will result in a mishmash of results. Answering these questions on the other hand, is a good recipe for an integrated point of care strategy, one that helps physicians extend the care they provide.