October 25 2016 | 0 Comments | 266 reads Average Rating: 3

Using Data to Change Behaviors: The Next Frontier for Life Sciences Companies

by Mark Feeney in Life Sciences

What would happen if a baseball manager focused solely on providing his players with better bats? The team would probably make some improvements, as more advanced bats could conceivably help the players hit the ball further. Obviously, though, the team could win many more games if the coach actually focused on what the players do with the bat.

For many years, life sciences companies have focused almost exclusively on how well prescription medications perform. As such, they have refined drug formularies, introduced new medications – and improved overall treatment outcomes.

However, the full benefits of prescription drugs are often not realized because approximately 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed. And, as former Surgeon General C. Everrett Kopp once said, “Drugs don’t work in people who don’t take them.”

So, to truly win the game, life science companies now are realizing that they have to focus on the players (the patients) as well. Instead of just working to provide new drugs, life sciences companies need to work collaboratively with payers and providers to zero in on how patients actually use their medications.

Fortunately, these companies can now draw upon a wide selection of datasets – such as de-identified clinical data from electronic medical records, socioeconomic, lab, financial and patient satisfaction data – to fuel new and innovative patient engagement efforts. In fact, these companies can even tap into social media and other sources to get insight into patient sentiments.

Having access to all of this data provides a 360 degree view of patients in order to understand what motivates them and what barriers need to be removed.

For example, an analysis of patient behavior might reveal that patients frequently forget to take a particular drug. As such, a life sciences company might develop a reminder app and encourage patients to download it on their phones. Or, analysis could show that patients who don’t speak English do not understand the importance of sticking with a particular drug regimen. As such, the company could develop educational materials in multiple languages to ensure better compliance. Another example is leveraging persona segmentation to understand geographic hot spots for a drug across the US. This would allow for collaboration between life science organizations, health plans and providers to target specific actions to be taken for their populations.

So, not only can life sciences companies provide the drugs that patients need – they can help ensure that patients actually utilize them appropriately. Can you think of any other ways that life sciences companies could leverage data to better engage patients?

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Mark Feeney
Life Sciences Consultant

Mark holds a Master’s Degree in Analytical Geography from Binghamton University and has spent 20 years in the Life Science industry.

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