Report: Pharmaceutical to accelerate investment in patient-centric capabilities
The vast majority of large pharmaceutical companies plan to increase their investment in patient-centric capabilities such as treatment adherence programs, remote patient monitoring and medication delivery and support over the next two years, according to a new report from Accenture.
The report, “The Patient is IN: Pharma’s Growing Opportunity in Patient Services,” is based on a survey of more than 200 executives at leading pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and Europe, which found that 85% of respondents said their organizations plan to ramp-up their spending on patient-centric capabilities over the next two years.
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents cited improving patient outcomes as their company’s number one objective for patient services. In addition, nine in 10 (91%) of the companies surveyed expect to offer six or more types of patient services within the next two years, up from the 73% that offer six or more types of patient services.
This increased focus on patient-centric capabilities comes at a time when only half (51%) of the respondents rate their organization’s patient-centric capabilities as being robust, with 46% citing little improvement in these capabilities over the last two years.
“Having demonstrated clear business and patient value, patient services is attracting greater investment and will become a key competitive driver of success in the healthcare market,” said Tony Romito, North American managing director of patient services for Accenture Life Sciences. “In this changing competitive environment, the question will no longer be if life sciences companies should offer these services, but rather which ones—and how they should be implemented.”
The average number of patient services that pharmaceutical companies offer is expected to jump 50% in the next two years, from nine to nearly 14. With nine of the 10 most-prevalent patient services currently delivering above-average business impact, the ramp-up in patient services should be beneficial for both patient themselves and health systems, the report concludes.
The Accenture research also reveals the top service areas in which companies will intensify their focus and investment efforts. These include benefit coverage and access support, with respondents citing a 100% investment increase, health counselor services participation (a 77% increase), and adherence program management (a 73% increase).
Nearly all (95%) of the companies surveyed said that to communicate their services, they plan to invest in patient-engagement technologies over the next 18 months, with digital channels—particularly social media, online communications and web pages—being high priority channels. However, in the U.S., television is expected to continue as a key channel.
The report shows that much of the investment will be aligned with services that patients value most highly. Previous Accenture research illustrated services that patient value medication delivery and support (highly valued by 85% of patients), remote patient monitoring (highly valued by 79% of patients), and adherence program management (highly valued by 77% of patients).
“Life sciences companies seeking to invest in patient services will need to address issues that can impede their progress, especially as focusing on patient services will become increasingly critical to sustaining success in healthcare,” said Andrea Brueckner, managing director of Accenture Life Sciences EALA practice. “This will require developing a patient-services strategy that fully aligns with patients’ needs, measures success, and effectively communicates to healthcare professional how such services, in combination with their products, can provide better outcomes for their patients.”
The findings also highlighted some potential barriers to the increased investment delivering on the promise of more patient and business value:
- Lack of clear ownership. While 62% of respondents identified themselves as the head or lead of patient services or the patient experience, 73% of respondents do not view a single function as having primary responsibility for patient services in their organization.
- Lack of awareness. More than three-quarters (81%) of respondents said that their companies rely on healthcare professionals to make patients aware of their services. But, less than one in five patients (19%) is familiar with these services, as established in a related patient services report in 2015. While most patients rely on healthcare professionals as their primary source of information, patients are not getting information about the services available to them.
- Lack of precise measurement. Most of the executives surveyed (40% ) cited an inability to precisely measure the impact of patient services on outcomes, which they cite as their primary objective for offering them.
Accenture surveyed 203 executives at pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. (100) Europe (103) from October to November 2015, covering seven therapeutic areas: heart, lung, brain, cancer, immune system, bones, and hormones/metabolism. Eight European countries included in the survey: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the U.K. The purpose of the research was to benchmark current and anticipated activities and investment in patient-centric services and capabilities. Annual revenues of the surveyed companies ranged from nearly $1 billion to more than $25 billion.