The Widening Patient-Physician Gap How Can (Should?) Pharma Marketers Facilitate the Conversation Between Patients & Physicians?Click Here for Additional Resources

A conversation with Alan Topin, President of Topin & Associates (see Bio), about what he has called the “Doctor-Patient Disconnect” and the role of pharmaceutical marketers in overcoming that disconnect by facilitating the conversation.

Topin will also be a member of a panel moderated by PharmaGuy at the Social Media for Pharma conference. The panel is titled “Getting To The Heart Of What Patients And HCPs Really Want And Need To Win Trust And Help Bridge The Widening Gap Between Patient And Prescriber.”

Aired LIVE on: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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In today’s increasingly complex healthcare world, communication between physicians and patients often doesn’t work. The gap between what the physician has to say and what the patient wants and needs to hear is growing wider. And as that gap grows, trust breaks down.

The critical moment of truth, when the physician summons all of his or her experience and knowledge to help patients confront and cope with life-changing situations, is interrupted by new challenges. What we have come to call the “Clipboard Patient” has wrestled the control of the information (the clipboard) and control of their treatment away from the specialist. The result? Confused patients, frustrated physicians, and a potentially negative impact on therapy compliance and outcomes.

“Pharmaceutical manufacturers, having invested heavily in research and marketing, seem to be unfortunately absent from the shifting conversation at a critical moment,” says Topin. “Even though pharma marketers aren’t in the exam room at the critical moment of truth — when treatments are discussed and brand choices are made — they can facilitate the conversation that’s happening and support decisions once they are made.”

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • Describe what you mean by the “Doctor-Patient Disconnect.”
  • What is causing the “gap” between doctors and patients? Is it the rise of the “ePatients” who want more control over medical decisions affecting them? What’s the role of the Internet and social media in this?
  • How do you see pharma marketers helping to bridge this gap or facilitate the conversation? Can you share some real examples?
  • What about “Point of Care” messaging by which pharma companies — with permission from physicians — delivering disease awareness, adherence, and/or advertising messages to patients via online patient electronic records maintained by physicians and accessed by patients? Do you see this as something pharma marketers should pursue?

Guest Bio

Al Topin

Alan Topin, founded Topin & Associates, a full-service healthcare marketing communications agency, in 1982 He leads the agency, setting the vision, strategic direction, and culture of the company. He also is a key strategist for the agency’s clients, working with all clients in their overall planning, development, and strategic efforts.

Prior to founding Topin & Associates, Alan served as vice president of marketing at Helene Curtis. In this position, he was responsible for the marketing, product design, product management, and public relations for various products. Previously, Alan worked as an account executive at J. Walter Thompson, where he focused on the Alberto Culver and Gillette accounts, creating advertising campaigns for various personal care products.

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