Building consumer trust in the pharma industry has increased in difficulty every year. Consumer approval of the pharma industry went from 62% to 53% in 2021, only increasing when COVID-19 vaccines were made available to the public.1 Factors such as affordability of care and brand reputation have helped to increase consumer distrust.2 It’s not always clear why, but for a variety of reasons, whether that’s media impact or personal experience, patients seem to have some predisposed opinions of the pharma industry as a whole. Yet, where do these perceptions stem from? 

Traditionally, patient engagement within the life sciences field has utilized a clinical lens rather than a holistic one, which at times may not always consider the many social, financial, and environmental circumstances of patients.3 Are patients feeling unheard or unseen by the industry – which is perhaps lending to a general hesitancy? 

The definition of holistic patient engagement varies, but the intent of it remains the same—putting the patient and their medical experiences first so better health outcomes can be achieved.4 This approach is something that many life sciences companies are already onto, but it is far from widespread. By putting the needs of patients first, the industry as a whole could gain many benefits, including renewed, sustainable consumer trust and increased customer satisfaction.5 

Making the Case for Holistic Patient Engagement 

Non-clinical, holistic patient engagement can complement and expand on what clinical patient engagement has provided successfully for so long. While a clinical approach focuses on how patients interact with their prescriptions, holistic patient engagement is grounded in understanding the circumstances of individual life and investigating lifestyle behaviors, and social determinants, all of which affect each patient’s likelihood of adherence to their medication regimen.6 Providing a mechanism for patients to feel heard, seen, and understood by pharmaceutical companies may be an early key in regaining their trust. 

In return, pharma companies can also see a strong return on investment from a more close-knit patient experience through improved quality of research, increased digital brand awareness, boosted customer loyalty, and expanded product sales.7,8 For example, Astellas saw the need to incorporate patient involvement into many of their clinical and drug development processes to understand deeper the real-life effects of their products on their patient community.9 Through their patient-focused medication development and delivery approach (PFMD), Astellas has captured the effectiveness of adding patient voices to the drug development process and how their product line might now affect patients’ entire well-being. 10 For one of their many patient communities, Astellas collaborated with Pack Health to assess the effectiveness of using digital health coaching to address the needs and health outcomes of 500 patients with prostate cancer diagnoses.11 Collaborative, rather than transactional, relationships between patients and the pharma industry will help illustrate what’s possible for rebuilding consumer trust in this industry.  

A holistic patient engagement approach will look different for each company. But the good news is, no matter what this approach looks like, holistic patient engagement will enable patients to feel like they can depend on your company for great care because there is an avenue for them to be heard.12 Shifting from a clinical to a holistic engagement approach will allow for patients, providers, and this industry to win. 

About Pack Health 

Pack Health is an evidence-based patient engagement platform that helps change health behaviors to close gaps in care and improve outcomes. Pack Health comprehensively addresses chronic conditions, comorbidities, social determinants, and barriers. The model is proven to drive results across industries, including life sciences, health plans, and research. For more information, visit www.packhealth.com.

In 2022, Pack Health was acquired by Quest Diagnostics, the nation’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. Pack Health is part of Quest’s Extended Care portfolio of services designed to facilitate access to care beyond traditional healthcare settings. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States.

Pack Health is intended to be an aid for people to gain insights into ways to help improve their general health and well-being.

REFERENCES

  1. Bulik BS. Pharma’s reputation drops again. Could it foreshadow a return to the bottom? Fierce Pharma. August 24, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2022.  https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/pharma-industry-reputation-drops-again-could-it-foreshadow-a-return-to-bottom 
  2. Reh G, Ronte H, Gupta L, et al. Overcoming biopharma’s trust deficit. Deloitte. May 6, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2022. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/life-sciences/trust-in-biopharmaceutical-companies-covid.html 
  3. Myers R, Anderson M, Korba C. Striving to become more patient-centric in life sciences. Deloitte Insights. Accessed March 25, 2022. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ec/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/DI_Striving-to-become-more-patient-centric-in-LS.pdf 
  4. Yeoman G, Furlong P, Seres M, et al. Defining patient centricity with patients for patients and caregivers: a collaborative endeavour. BMJ Innovations. 2017;3:76-83. Accessed March 25, 2022. https://innovations.bmj.com/content/3/2/76 
  5. Ascher J, Höglund D, Mlika A, Ostojic I, et al. From product to customer experience: The new way to launch in pharma. McKinsey and Company. August 15, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/life-scienc es/our-insights/from-product-to-customer-experience-the-new-way-to-launch-in-pharma 
  6. du Plessis D, Sake JK, Halling K. et al. Patient Centricity and Pharmaceutical Companies: Is It Feasible?. Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2017;51, 460–467. https://doi.org/10.1177/2168479017696268 
  7. Pushparajah DS. Making Patient Engagement a Reality. Patient. 2018;11, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40271-017-0264-6 
  8. Gaede S. The business case for patient engagement. PMLive. October 3, 2019. Accessed March 1, 2022. https://www.pmlive.com/blogs/digital_intelligence/archive/2019/The_business_case_for_patient_engagement_1301825 
  9. Bulik BS. Q&A: Astellas’ Anthony Yanni leading the charge to embed patient voices’ in pharma business model. Endpoint News. February 22, 2022. Accessed March 10, 2022. https://endpts.com/qa-astellas-anthony-yanni-leading-the-charge-to-embed-patient-voices-in-pharma-business-model/ 
  10. Patient centricity at Astellas – all about action. Astellas. Accessed March 25, 2022.  https://www.astellas.com/en/stories/strategy/patient-centricity 
  11. Astellas collaboration with Pack Health explores impact of digital health coaching in men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. Pack Health. Accessed April 19, 2022. https://packhealth.com/news-astellas-prostate-cancer/ 
  12. Gosling H. Growing pains: How companies are scaling up their patient-centric efforts. Reuters Events. December 12, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.reutersevents.com/pharma/patients-and-medical/growing-pains