Strengthening the Patient/Provider Relationship

Strengthening the Patient/Provider Relationship

In the rapidly evolving healthcare marketplace, the role of a primary care physician (PCP) is changing. Healthcare organizations are working to surround PCPs with broader care teams—nutritionists, mental health professionals, social workers and physical therapists—to provide PCPs time to focus on the most critical patients. In addition, PCPs provide a valuable link in referring patients to a healthcare organization’s specialty care offering, leveraging the power of a unified electronic medical record, driving pay-for-performance reimbursements, and strengthening patient loyalty. It’s probably not surprising, therefore, that health systems we work with are seeking to learn more about the patient/provider relationship.

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New Research: Pharmaceutical Companies are Overlooking a Key Audience

Pharmaceutical Companies are Overlooking a Key Audience

I never used to pay attention to anything in the healthcare industry. As someone young and healthy with no medical conditions, I rarely went to the doctor and ignored drug commercials. That all changed when I met my husband. After we had been dating for a while, he let me know that he had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (commonly referred to as UC) when he was 20 years old, and it was not well controlled. My mindset quickly shifted, and I took on the role of a caregiver to someone with a chronic illness. Suddenly everything about the pharma industry fascinated me. I quickly went to find all the information I could on the internet, but it turns out there aren’t a ton of resources available to caregivers for this non-life threatening illness. It was frustrating, to say the least. The lack of resources directed toward caregivers of people with UC seemed to delegitimize their role as caregivers, like they are not even a part of medical decisions.

Luckily for my husband and me, my new-found fascination with the world of pharmaceuticals led me to Market Strategies, where all of my healthcare market research colleagues had seemingly endless knowledge about how to find deep information on diseases and current treatments, as well as treatments in development. I did some independent research on UC and discovered there were better options for my husband than what he was currently prescribed. With my encouragement, he found a more open-minded doctor who prescribed a new medication I had suggested. This new medication was a self-injectable. My husband is brave in a lot of ways, but shots are not his favorite thing. For this new medication to work, I would have to administer the shots. I went with him for his initial loading dose at the doctor’s. My presence at the medical office was viewed as normal, it seems a lot of patients are accompanied by caregivers. The nurse showed me how to inject the medicine and gave us some material from the drug manufacturer.

However, once we got home, it was clear that the manufacturer did not consider the possibility that someone other than the patient would be reading the materials or administering the injection. They did not acknowledge the role of a caregiver at all, which made me feel a little strange as I’m a big influence when it comes to my husband’s medical care. Even after reading the patient-facing materials, I still feel a little bit nervous when I give him his shot, even a year later. That part may come as a surprise to my husband, as I get the feeling he’s pretty confident in my ability. He has to be.

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I Love My Doctor!

The Role of the Patient-Physician Relationship in Marketing Healthcare   

Editor’s Note: This is a first look at findings from our recent omnibus study that examines the patient/provider relationship. Also read our latest post for a full analysis and download the report, Commitment to the Patient/Provider Relationship.

Many of our health system clients have begun to investigate more deeply the patient-physician relationship—a relationship that is complicated, multi-faceted and, for many, vitally important. For example, we’ve uncovered information people rely on when selecting a new provider, the most appealing characteristics of a physician’s practice and aspects of the patient-physician encounter that matter most. These studies are important given an employed primary care provider’s critical role in referring patients to a health system’s specialty care, leveraging the power of a system’s EMR capabilities and improving employed providers’ HCAHPS scores.

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Where should I go for care?

Understanding How Consumers Make Healthcare Decisions   

Where should I go for care?

It’s day two of my eight-year-old niece’s fever and it won’t break. Before her parents went on vacation, I promised to take care of her. Sure, she wasn’t feeling well, but it was just a fever and we were doing all the right things: Tylenol, rest and fluids. But as day two progressed, she grew more despondent and refused to drink anything. Now what?

We’ve all had to make choices about where to seek care for an unplanned health event, but today we have more choices about where to go.

Whether it’s extended hours, virtual visits or money-back guarantees, choices are transforming care delivery. Understanding how these choices shape decisions will make or break marketing strategies seeking to increase usage. That is why Market Strategies focused its latest self-funded research study on how people choose where to go when someone is sick. What we learned will help answer a question salient in the minds of every health system professional: “How do we maximize the likelihood that consumers will choose us, when deciding where to go for care?”

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Doctor’s Orders: Why Patient Engagement Matters

Doctor’s Orders: Why Patient Engagement MattersEnsuring that patients understand, accept and follow recommended treatment plans is the first step towards the best possible outcome—medically for the patient and financially for the healthcare delivery system. Similarly, physicians are in the best position to individualize this treatment plan to one that is optimal for the patient.

Yet all too often patients resist their physician’s recommendation immediately or at the pharmacy, or they initially accept only to abandon treatment later. Why does this happen and what can be done about it?

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The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

How we “talk” and interact has changed. Heads down. Headphones on. Thumbs moving. It’s ironic that the more we focus on our small, handheld smartphone, the more we have access to the larger world around us. When sitting on a park bench, we can call loved ones, shop at Amazon, watch Netflix, listen to Spotify and schedule appointments. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to think that most people (especially Millennials) could pretty much operate their whole world on a smartphone.

As part of our continued focus on consumerism in healthcare, Market Strategies monitors and tracks how consumers use technology. In this article, we explore telehealth with an emphasis on virtual healthcare—an attractive option to busy consumers who are now accustomed to getting what they need, the moment they need it. For healthcare consumers, this means convenient, high-quality, immediate access to care for themselves and family members that costs less than traditional office visits.

What we’re learning from our own research is helping healthcare providers, health systems and insurers offer the right tools at the right time to connect consumers with the care they expect.

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Why Pharma Ethnography is a Critical Investment

Alice in Wonderland

In the 1951 Disney adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, our protagonist finds herself in a bit of a predicament. Eager to catch the White Rabbit as he scurries off, Alice is too large to squeeze through the door to continue her pursuit. In frustration, she calls out to the doorknob, “I simply must get through!” The doorknob replies, “Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassible.” Confused, Alice responds, “You mean impossible?” Doorknob: “No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible.”

Impassible versus impossible. It’s easy to see how Alice was confounded by these two very similar looking and sounding words. However, the dialogue between the doorknob and Alice is more than clever wordplay; it’s sage advice. If a path meets an obstacle, change the perspective and try again. Seemingly impassible problems are opportunities for adaptation, creative thinking and novel solutions.

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Are PAPs the Panacea for What Ails Pharma Companies?

Are PAPs the Panacea for What Ails Pharma Companies?

Sixty percent of Americans suffer from a chronic disease, making the need for affordable treatment options critical. Even with health insurance, sufferers struggle to manage their condition as prescription costs continue to rise and shift to the patient. The repercussions of this trend cascade through the patient-provider relationship, which now includes insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Market Strategies International recently conducted a study of more than 1,000 adults age 18 and older to understand the impact of rising prescription costs in three key areas:

  1. Intentional prescription non-compliance
  2. Consumer attitudes towards healthcare providers, health insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies
  3. Consumer awareness and enrollment in patient assistance programs (PAPs)

What we found is a huge gap between needs and value as well as a strong indication that PAPs may be the panacea for improving compliance and attitudes towards pharmaceutical companies.

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Rising Information Consumption Shifts the Patient/Provider Relationship

Rising Information Consumption Shifts the Patient/Provider Relationship

Shopping. It’s as American as apple pie. When we shop, we want deals. We want value. We don’t want to get ripped off. With more information at our fingertips (literally), we rely on a wide variety of information sources to make decisions and maximize the value of our purchases. From downloading coupons and talking to friends to reading online reviews and researching product features, there are a myriad of ways to get the deal we want.

Historically, most American workers didn’t shop for health insurance—it was something employers provided to attract the right people. That has changed. Based on data from the National Health Information Survey, it’s clear that personal healthcare costs have increased each year since 2008 (see table below), and more and more consumers are relying on high-deductible health plans that have low monthly premiums. The assumption has always been that the by-product of higher out-of-pocket costs is a savvier healthcare shopper.

Growth in High-Deductible Health Plans

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What Zika Virus is Teaching Us About Credible Healthcare Information

Zika Virus

As a first-time mom to an 11-week-old girl, the growing concern about the Zika virus has captured my attention. Daily, I count my blessings that both she and I are healthy, having come through pregnancy and labor safely. As a researcher focusing primarily on pharmaceuticals and healthcare, I spend a significant amount of time learning about devastating diseases, but this one has really hit home.

It was almost exactly a year ago, while traveling for in-situ research with healthcare providers, that I called my husband from a hotel room early in the morning to tell him that we were finally pregnant. That same week, I flew to four different states as my research continued, and the next week three more. Within a month, I was onto another project and literally circling the globe to conduct interviews with oncologists in Asia and Europe.

Travel has always been–and will continue to be–an integral part of my life and work. I was fortunate that morning sickness was the only ailment that I had to worry about while traveling so broadly. What would I have done if the Zika virus had been spreading then? How would I react if research was going to take me to South America? I can only imagine I would have immediately begun doing the thing I’m probably best at – asking questions.

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