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Pharma ‘ignoring patient services’

New report finds industry should do more to make patients aware of therapeutic services

Prescribing GP 

The industry should be doing more to make patients aware of additional health services within their treatment pathways.

This is according a new survey: Patient Services: Pharma's Best Kept Secret, commissioned by Accenture, of 10,000 patients in five countries and across seven therapeutic areas.

It revealed that when patients are aware of additional therapeutic services, nearly six out of 10 of those surveyed use them (58%), and nearly eight in 10 (79%) perceive the services as extremely or very valuable. 

Yet, less than one in five patients (19%) are aware these programmes even exist as pharma is not communicating their existence well enough.

Results show patient awareness is low across all therapeutic areas, ranging from 18% for bones, lung and heart conditions, to 21% for cancer and immune diseases.

The survey also revealed that patients want more help and guidance before they begin treatment for a disease, with their greatest frustration being lack of notification of being “at risk” for a condition. 

Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents (65%) said that pre-treatment is the most frustrating period of the patient journey, while 34% of patients surveyed cited frustration with the lack of knowledge that they might be at risk of a condition before they experience symptoms. This percentage rose to 44 percent of patients surveyed with immune diseases.

Tony Romito, managing director of Accenture, Life Sciences, said: “These findings show there is a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to improve their impact in healthcare by raising patient awareness of value-added services throughout a patient's care journey. 

“By identifying at risk patients earlier and then understanding and addressing their needs before being treated for a condition, pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to work with the broader healthcare system to provide treatment that could mitigate the advancement of their condition.”

Pharma 'should not be primary contact'

The findings also showed that patients want healthcare professionals - such as doctors, specialists, nurses or pharmacists - to be the primary source of information for what services are recommended to manage their health, and many consider digital channels as primary sources to receive services. 

Only 1% said they want pharma companies to be their primary point of contact.

“Most pharmaceutical companies today have not prioritised messaging around patient services to healthcare professionals and instead have focused messaging on areas such as clinical efficacy, safety, and access. With less than one in five patients aware of patient services, these survey results indicate investments in providing information and access to patient services should be revisited,” added Romito

The research used an online survey of 10,000 respondents in the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil (2,000 per country) between December 2014 and January 2015.

Article by
Ben Adams

15th May 2015

From: Healthcare

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