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Strengthening the pharma-physician-patient relationship through personalized technology

DTC Perspectives PoC Conference Panel, November 6, 2013

The patient-physician relationship is strained. Patients want more attention and personal care; physicians want to be more productive, informed and efficient. Patients aren’t always articulate about their symptoms; physicians feel the patients don’t always take recommendations or medications as prescribed.

As pharma-marketers, we care about the patient-physician relationship. How can we help to improve this relationship at the point of care? Is there a way we can help doctors work more efficiently and make it easier for patients to adhere to treatments? Can we use technology to engage with physicians more effectively, thereby improving their interactions with patients?

And if we can work together to improve the patient-physician relationship, the hope is that we will do well by doing good.

The challenge of improving the physician-patient relationship is being addressed by innovators from all corners of the healthcare industry. But at the recent DTC PoC Conference in Philadelphia, CEO David Ormesher and a panel of experts got it all on the table. The experts were:

  • Lina Nudera, Associate Director, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
  • Sridhar Iyengar, Co-founder, Misfit Wearables
  • Ed Michael, Managing Partner, LionBird
  • Jonny Imerman, Founder, Imerman Angels

Ormesher began the discussion by identifying several trends in health care today that point to a tremendous opportunity for pharma to add value –
          1) The explosion in mobile health & wellness apps
          2) The physician/patient relationship strain (Lack of time and the need for more efficiencies)
          3) The pharma/physician relationship, whether that’s a lack of access, trust or simply time

The panel and audience provided a lively and very powerful session on how technology might create a new, stronger type of relationship between pharma and physicians based on more than commercial transactions – one that is based on mutual commitment to bettering patients’ experiences and outcomes.  And while it’s obviously a popular topic—there are over 40,000 health/wellness apps out there—it’s not always a successful one.  Despite the fact that venture capital funding for digital health startups has increased 167% in the last two years, very few of those 40,000 apps ever get used.

One of the reasons for that is that the majority of apps out there are just not useful. Just because the technology or expertise is available to build applications doesn’t mean it should be done, until there is a clear focus or goal in mind. Ormesher and the panel identified four categories of personalized technology that could provide the most impact for patients, HCPs, and therefore, for pharma:

  • Activity and Wellness trackers
  • Symptom trackers
  • Patient monitors
  • Patient to patient support

“No one is in a better position to know and understand the needs and challenges of physicians and their relationships with their patients than pharma,” said Ormesher.  “With this knowledge comes the opportunity to introduce relevant, valuable technologies to strengthen the relationship.”

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