Digital Health Coalition Newsletter - September 2019

FEATURED CONTENT: Pharma's Reputation and Patient-Centricity

Earlier this month, DHC co-founder Mark Bard sat down with MM&M Editor Marc Iskowitz for the MM&M podcast. We encourage you to check out the full podcast episode through your favorite podcast app, and we are offering here for our DHC readers an exclusive summary of their conversation and added data points.

Mark & Marc focused their discussion around a few related topics: pharma’s reputation in the public eye (brought to the forefront by the latest Gallup poll) and its impact on a marketer’s work around consumer experience, DHC data and analysis from a survey of pharma marketers on innovation opportunities and challenges, and a quick look at Mark Bard’s take on key trends for 2020.

Big Pharma Sinks to the Bottom of U.S. Industry Rankings

Results of a recent Gallup poll asking consumers to rate their perceptions of various industries revealed that pharma was last on the list of major industries, just below the federal government. What are some of the reasons for such a negative ranking from the customers at the center of a “patient centric” industry?

According to Gallup poll results which were released earlier this month, the pharmaceutical industry is now the most poorly regarded industry in Americans’ eyes, ranking last on a list of 25 industries that Gallup tests annually.

Americans are more than twice as likely to rate the pharmaceutical industry negatively (58%) as positively (27%), giving it a net-positive score of -31. To put these results into context, this is even worse than the public’s opinion on the Federal Government, which was formerly ranked last. What could be behind these unfavorable sentiments about the industry, and what solutions, if any, are within reach to improve pharma’s rating among public opinion?

“You look at it and you’ve really got to do a little bit of soul searching and say, ‘Why?’ Just strip it back to the very simple question — do your customers like you?”. He continues, “For any industry, whether you’re middle of the pack or last, if you’re below the average, you really do have to ask some of those tough questions of ‘Why do my customers feel this way?”Mark Bard

In addition to the obvious and significant problems that come with being the “worst business industry in the U.S.” the ranking is particularly troublesome for marketers who are putting increasing focus on customer experience and patient centricity as a tent pole for campaign strategy. Marc Iskowitz (MM&M) framed the tension, explaining “CX has been talked about as a movement, but as a way to become more patient-centric, it really hasn’t taken off. We haven’t really seen the pull-through there.” Mark Bard takes the position that perhaps this idea of customer experiences matters differently in pharma, due to the unique set of additional decision makers (physician, payer etc) and forces at play.

The Pharma Approach to Customer Experience

As Mark explains, ten to fifteen years ago, there was this idea that technology is eventually going to drive not just connections and communication in health, but that it’s going to allow health providers and everyone within the health delivery system to offer better care, outcomes, and ultimately a better customer experience.
“I don’t know that we’ve seen that happen in many ways in pharma,” notes Bard. “While we see how technology helps us do better targeting, there are really fundamental questions about the customer experience, a lot of that happens after you’ve acquired the customer.” – Mark Bard
Thinking about customer experience in practical terms, there are many examples of how brands are investing in the customer experience today. One industry at the leading edge of optimizing the customer experience is auto, specifically a company and brand like Porsche. A large amount of the data analysis happens after someone has already purchased the Porsche. While money can be spent to make sure buyers – and repeat buyers – are being targeted effectively at the start of the process, there are also significant investments to make sure that customer is retained over their lifetime as a customer.

“A lot of the auto companies, whether it’s a Porsche, or a Mercedes, they’re spending a lot to understand how to keep you, how to maintain that relationship over time, Bard says. Applying this approach in pharma, how can the customer experience be better understood to support the long-term relationship with the customer? Should the lifetime value of a patient taking a prescription be viewed differently than someone buying a car? “Porsche may have a 20, 30-year lifetime value for someone if they get them early enough. They can keep them around for four iterations of the car. What is the lifetime value of a customer in pharma?”

Benchmarking Pharma Digital

In unpacking how this focus on the customer experience has impacted the pharma marketer’s day-today, Mark and Marc turned their attention to a recent DHC survey with pharma companies, asking about industry-relevant digital marketing and innovation trends. The resulting data covered a range of topics, among which was digital benchmarking.
“When we did this [study] in 2019 and asked, ‘How do you compare yourself to peers when it comes to digital for marketing?’, 43% said they are very far behind other industries,” Bard explains. Close to half of the industry believes pharma is very far behind with regard to innovation and marketing, with only a small number that are saying the industry is average.”
Interestingly, the top reason pointed to by the survey results was a lack of knowledge and lack of education within pharma company teams. “There really is that need for education about not only what the technology is that I can use, but how do I apply this?” says Bard, reflecting on an earlier moment in the podcast when he shared on the DHC’s mission to provide research and education to help drive innovation.

Another reason for pharma’s reputation is its perceived digital capabilities compared to other industries — in addition to the ever-present perceived legal and regulatory hurdles — was this idea of the lack of communication and coordination within and across the company.

“A lot of the companies [are] saying ‘We may have ideas, but this ability to share what’s working across the company is limited by the siloed thinking or siloed approach and how we make decisions internally’. If we can figure out how to take some of those insights we’ve learned from, and spread those as best practices, and share what we learned, we think that would help us at the organization level to do things that we may have necessarily not been embracing in the past,” explained Mark Bard.

Trends to Watch for in 2020

As the new year approaches, there are several trends the DHC believes will be gaining momentum in 2020 based on interviews with pharmaceutical companies. “The great thing is, we see what companies like Novartis are doing and from the C-suite down saying ‘We need to rethink the way we make decisions, how we use data, how we can be more nimble with what we do and how we take a much broader view of what the product is, what our service is,'” Bard notes. One standout from the DHC survey results was the need for innovation from the outside. The trend of bringing people from other industries into pharma so as to get a different thinking style is continuing to gain traction.

“We were hearing this idea of ‘We need to think outside the box’ and to think about who our partners will be in the future. I think that speaks to this idea of trying to understand digital therapeutics, the role of data,” Bard explains, “any treatment decision is going to be data-driven in the very near future as AI becomes integrated with all the claims data and everything else we know about what works — and what doesn’t work.”

AI (Artificial Intelligence) also continues to be a point of interest in its application to the pharma industry. “The term “AI” will not be used in five to 10 years. “It’s just endemic. It’s part of the way we will do business. Think of a situation where we need computers to go through vast amounts of data to make decisions. We don’t debate the value of automation in manufacturing today. We’re not going to debate the value of AI in making marketing and customer experience decisions,” Bard explains.

Using radiology as an example in health care, AI has proven particularly useful in that field due to its superior pattern recognition and visual recognition abilities.

“Let’s let AI do what it does very well and let the humans do what they do very well. I think we’re going to have those conversations with marketing very soon. We don’t necessarily need a human to go through significant amounts of data. Analysts are going to have different roles. We’re going to use AI to help us make better decisions with the data we have,” Bard says.

Finally, although less substantial relative to the other big trends in the industry, the DHC also expects VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) to continue growing in importance and relevance for pharma. The important distinction however, is to not just use AR/VR to retrofit previous advertising, but to instead really make the best use of the technology.

“There’s opportunities here to use AR and VR for what it does really well, if you’ve experienced VR in the outside world, you see the possibilities, and it’s amazing what you can do compared to just five and ten years ago. From an education, from a training perspective, it’s a huge opportunity if done right.”Mark Bard

Interested in learning more about pharma’s reputation? Listen to the full interview with DHC co-founder Mark Bard.
ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS FROM DHC PARTNERS

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Outcome Health, a healthcare innovation company focused on supporting patients, caregivers and healthcare providers at the point of care, launched In These Rooms — a bespoke campaign to transform the strategy of the industry from “point of care” to “moments of care™.” The campaign debuted at Digital Pharma East with a poignant, thought-provoking :90-second video depicting moments in waiting rooms and exam rooms with patients, caregivers and their physicians.

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The mushrooming market is now disrupting pharma and the wider healthcare industry. As digital health becomes de rigueur, chatbots are leading the march. This article will explore what is happening on the ground and what the future might hold for this burgeoning area. DHC's Mark Bard lends his expertise in this look at how chatbots are emerging as a key trend.

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Customer Experience at the Retail Pharmacy

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Nate Lucht, President & CEO of Rx EDGE examines the evolving roles that retail pharmacies and pharmacists play in today’s fastest growing sector of the healthcare market—specialty medicine. In this article, Nate gives readers insight on the challenges that specialty patients face before and after an official diagnosis, and the resources they rely on to carry them through their journey as a patient.

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DHC EVENTS COMING SOON

DHC East Coast Summit

October 8, 2019
NEW TIME: 10am - 3pm, includes lunch Hosted by AstraZeneca

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DHC West Coast Summit

November 14, 2019
Hosted by Genentech

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DHC’s Advisory Board member Forrest King (JUICE Pharma) provides his perspective on the mandate for designing around the customer experience – whether that customer is a physician or a consumer. In this article, he shows how complicated human interactions with technology, natural language processing and advancing search algorithms are all coming together to improve the human-tech interaction. Forrest demonstrates how we will need to accept the challenge of putting the customer experience at the center of the process. 

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MEGHAN RIVERA ON PATIENT CENTRICITY CULTURE

DHC’s Executive Director, Christine Franklin, recently interviewed Meghan Rivera, Vice President, Head of Women’s Health Sales and Marketing at AMAG Pharma. Meghan has been a member of the DHC Advisory Board for several years and a vocal advocate for innovation within digital pharma marketing. We sought out her perspective on the topic of patient-centricity, having watched her cultivate a culture at AMAG which genuinely prioritizes the patient.

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