In the first two weeks after a cancer diagnosis, there are likely dozens of doctor’s visits, tests, consultations, and decision points. The patient care team supplies an abundance of information, although sifting through brochures and online resources can be daunting for the patient and their caregiver. Adhering to regulatory guidelines is an important step pharma takes to ensure that promotional medical materials contain balanced information that is accurate and relevant.1 The marketer’s goal is to design easy-to-follow patient guidelines while conforming to med-legal language. Further complicating the consumption of highly technical data is the emotional state of the newly diagnosed patient or one who has recently relapsed.

Meeting Patients Where They Are

Do we expect standardized medical brochures to cater to the vast continuum of patient perspectives? The demographic diversity of patients, such as generation, socioeconomic status, education level, and family support structure, makes a singular patient profile impractical. Personalization of the patient journey is supported by therapy-specific websites, dedicated landing pages, and mobile apps. Still, is a 36-page patient brochure any less overwhelming because the patient and caregiver can access it online?

Supporting the Patient Journey

How can pharma marketing better support, serve, and educate to attend to the way patients and their caregivers take in information? By helping them find relevant resources with highly specific information at the right time and in a chapterized format. Patient centricity is informed by empathy and an understanding of the patient journey and the many factors that affect the patient experience along the continuum. Personalization means the customer feels as if someone is speaking directly to them. Communication needs to be welcoming, relevant, and digestible. Too much information can be worse than none at all. Ease of access considers the pace at which people seek, understand, and process information—which varies from person to person.

And the Future Looks Like…

The key to making the customer feel heard and valued is infusing empathy, personalized experiences, and timely resources into every touchpoint in the treatment journey. This gives patients and their caregivers, who are making critical health decisions, the support and information they need; when they need it most. Think of the level of engagement for a customer ordering lunch from a touchscreen; it is a completely unique experience right down to extra pickles. Imagine similar consideration being given to patients and their caregivers making critical health decisions. It is too soon to say if the healthcare industry is on the verge of adopting a retail-style customer focus, however, if we learned anything from the pandemic, it is that patients now realize so much more is possible. And facing a chronic illness brings out the greatest expectations and need for real-time support. How will healthcare respond?

Sunny White
Sunny White is an editorial advisory board member for the Pharma Marketing Network with hands-on experience helping pharmaceutical marketers elevate their promotional material to meet the unique needs of patients and caregivers while remaining compliant. Sunny’s team of BOLDOLOGISTS at Xavier Creative House strives to infuse strategic healthcare solutions with meaningful technology to improve the accessibility of information that changes patient behavior.
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  1. Organization, World Health. The IMPORTANCE of PHARMACOVIGILANCE Safety Monitoring of Medicinal Products. 2002. Accessed June 18, 2022.