Over the past year, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies like Pfizer, Moderna, BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson have brought, developed and deployed COVID-19 vaccines under immense time pressure. Although government funding and emergency use authorization have been key to accelerating these breakthroughs, the increased speed and efficiency of the research and development (R&D) process has also played a major role. The speed of new R&D processes has allowed the pharma industry to step up its research, trials, supply chain management, and open-source manufacturing to get lifesaving technologies into the hands of patients faster than ever.Despite ramped up R&D technologies and strategies, the sector’s commercialization technologies and strategies haven’t changed much at all. This is surprising given that COVID-19, digital health initial public offerings (IPOs), regulatory changes, and record-breaking venture financings have advanced the consumerization of healthcare. Nonetheless, pharma commercialization is trailing around a decade behind its healthcare industry peers.
Why Pharma Consumerization Is So Far Behind
Compared to pharma manufacturers’ value-chain peers like health systems and pharmacies, pharma manufacturers are much bigger leaders in driving patient awareness. That’s why these manufacturers spend billions of dollars on consumer ads every year to uphold their informational role and help patients understand their medical conditions and treatment options. As a result, pharma direct-to-consumer ad spend has increased, but the call to action for patients to receive help is still the same: a depersonalized, often unhelpful suggestion to “talk to your doctor”.
Meanwhile, the physician shortage has left many doctors overwhelmed with administrative tasks and coping with burnout. The AAMC projects that there will be a shortfall of 139,000 physicians by 2033. This shortage is already making it difficult for many patients to access care. For example, patients who have multiple sclerosis can wait up to two and a half years to receive a diagnosis. Common conditions like type 2 diabetes can take four to seven years to diagnose. Rarer conditions can take even longer.
Only 12 percent of today’s patients have the health literacy skills to use the healthcare system. Many are unsure how to find the right specialists, diagnostics, and treatments.
The Need for Commercialization in the Pharma Industry
The need for personalized, convenient, easily accessible information and treatments – at a low cost – is clear. And consumerization is key to this shift. For starters, consumerization has made tv shows, takeout, and rideshare services more convenient and accessible than ever, which is why so many more people are using these regularly. With a little work, the same could apply to pharma information and products.
While healthcare companies realign their e-commerce and consumer technologies to improve patient experiences, the door also needs to open for pharma manufacturers to improve marketing and consumer engagement tools. This way, these companies could better attract, engage, and examine consumer behavior.
How RxDefine Is Transforming the Pharma Industry
With the need for pharma consumerization in mind, the software innovator RxDefine is taking steps to transform static recommendations to “talk to your” doctor into digitally curated, highly personalized experiences.
These patient experiences prove invaluable. As an example, the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that statin ads (as opposed to calls to action to“talk to your doctor”) have led 636,500 more users to initiate statin regimes. This has prevented around 7,500 heart attacks. If this simple awareness strategy can save thousands of lives, thousands more consumers can access the right treatments and information with this Netflix-like approach to patient experience.
RxDefine is the first platform to streamline the patient journey all the way from consumer engagement to provider education. The platform gives pharmaceutical firms a space to reach consumers directly and gain the competitive edge they need to stand out in such a fast-growing sector.
Meanwhile, the groundbreaking approach to patient care offers a huge step forward for consumer access. RxDefine takes care of the full patient experience, keeping insurance and pricing in mind. Patients benefit from a live concierge where they can ask questions, receive information materials, and schedule appointments. Patients can choose whether they receive information in person, online, or a hybrid of these.
Who Benefits From RxDefine?
Three main groups benefit from RxDefine’s advanced platform.
- Patients can learn about relevant products from RxDefine’s online materials and concierge. The company also connects patients with doctors, either via telemedicine or in-person appointments. Patients can then receive expert care from a doctor who specializes in the required field.
- Doctors and clinicians can use the platform to answer patients’ questions and provide education. Doctors can meet patients where they are and provide the materials they need to understand and treat their conditions. Doctors and clinicians can also use RxDefine to research the latest industry and patient findings and access the company’s aggregate data collection.
- Manufacturers can receive feedback on their products through RxDefine. This feedback is vital when it comes to manufacturers evolving their products and better helping patients. The review process puts manufacturers in the best position to iterate their products for optimal patient outcomes.
As the healthcare industry sees more consumerization, RxDefine is set to tackle the huge demand for accessible healthcare. The company provides the space pharma manufacturers need to adopt patient-centric approaches and take the friction out of patient experiences. Pharma manufacturers can now take hold of the opportunity to offer patients the convenience, accessibility, and personalization they need.
More About RxDefine
RxDefine’s team is made up of 35+ entrepreneurial operators, science executives, doctors, engineers, and designers. These professionals have spent more than 15 years crafting direct-to-consumer e-commerce solutions. Together, they have built and scaled multi-hundred-million-dollar enterprise software companies and some of the first direct to consumer (DTC) life science initiatives. Over upcoming months, RxDefine is set to launch even more pharmaceutical partners across dermatology, cardiovascular disease, women’s health, neurology and more. Learn more about RxDefine.