Insights with Innovators

Digital Transformation with Patients at the Center

What’s Happening Now and Where We Are Headed

August 2023

“Digital Transformation” is not a novel concept for us at DHCG. However, the emphasis on placing “patients at the center” of this transformation is a significant shift from previous industry norms. A few years ago, the term “customer” in many pharma circles was synonymous with “physician.” But the world changed. The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns thrust healthcare into the limelight, altering the dynamics of physician access. While this shift might have been temporary, with physician access reverting to pre-pandemic norms, the industry’s trajectory had been irrevocably altered. The rise of data analytics and the clamor for enhanced customer experiences ensured that a return to the old ways was not an option.

As the DHCG, our vantage point offers us a unique perspective. We’ve observed a commendable shift in pharma decision-makers’ focus, with an increasing emphasis on viewing the patient as the primary customer. This isn’t a departure from targeting HCPs but rather a genuine commitment to enhancing the patient’s experience throughout their healthcare journey.

This May we partnered with thought leaders from Merck and Novartis to unpack innovations on how marketers can play a role in SDOH. The overwhelming response to these sessions underscores the industry’s appetite for this shift. As Denise Campbell, VP, Marketing Strategy, US Oncology at Novartis, aptly puts it:

“I’m expecting to see 2024 plans where it’s more integrated in terms of how we are going to address these different patient populations across our portfolio. We may not go from zero to [market] leadership in six months, but we can make significant progress and that will give us something that we can then build upon in each subsequent planning cycle.”

The emphasis on centering the patient is pivotal for the next wave of omnichannel innovation. Personalized medicine’s true essence lies in understanding the individual it’s tailored for. Visionary marketers grasp that it’s about equipping HCPs with timely, relevant information, pivotal in determining the patient’s care trajectory. An executive from our omnichannel strategy research encapsulated this sentiment, stating,

“We want to ensure patients receive the appropriate medication to enhance outcomes and their quality of life. It’s a goal we constantly need to remind ourselves of.”

Our research also indicates a strong desire among physicians to collaborate with pharma, aiming to provide superior content to patients. The challenges of their profession are manifold, and they seek efficient resources for medical education, liaising with sales representatives, and patient communication. During a recent DHCG project on HCP Activation, Gary Patry, Commercial Lead Malignant Hematology Portfolio at Regeneron, shared his insights on this:

“What we’re most excited about is the ability to create more personalized HCP communications that provide a better overall “brand experience” for our customers.”

The transformation we’re witnessing is propelled by the advanced tools now available. Leaders who recognize the power of data are channeling significant resources into data analytics innovations. Whether it is companies bringing control of their data in-house or strengthening strategic partnerships to ensure advanced data applications (and security).  The data is key, but not just in volume alone. It’s not just about amassing data but discerning the right data and interpreting it effectively. Even with AI shouldering some of the burden, the role of a strategic maestro orchestrating the symphony remains paramount.

So what happens next? We are going to be looking at possible answers to these questions with industry thought leaders during our September 28th DHC Summit (request an in-person seat here).  

The goal for the Summit is to look at the future of Digital Transformation – With Patients at the Center. Hosted with Novo Nordisk’s VP of Commercial Operations, Ericka Higgins-Tothe, this day will be built on the current state of digital transformation and how the industry overall has embraced the customer-centric mindset to rethink traditional processes. We are bringing together new patient and HCP research insights from across industry sources. Speakers will show

  • Understanding the Landscape: New Data from HCPs and Consumers on Healthcare Information Sharing and Preferences
  • Latest Patient Confidence Data and Panel Discussion – The Path Forward With Patients at the

  • Results from 2023 HCP Channel Trends and Preferences

In service of our continued commitment to help digital marketers better understand and deploy innovations, we will be bringing together decision makers to explore current case studies and best practices around digital transformation.  Marketers will discuss:

  • The Role of Digital Education – Perspectives on Guiding Consumers from Awareness to Action
  • An Omnichannel Approach To Patient Support Through Social and Digital Channels

  • Patient + HCP Dialogue: The Importance of
    Digital Content Relevance & Personalization in an Often Stigmatized

You can review the full agenda here. We’d like to thank the teams at Novo Nordisk for partnering with us on this Summit, as well as our member partners who continually push forward innovations that put the patients at the center.  We hope you will join us, in person or virtually, for these important insights. 

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