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Patient support services: get the word out

Senior Director, Social Media

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A new survey-driven infographic from Accenture shows that most patients don't know about pharma-provided support programs but when they learn about them they love them.

The number of patients that know about support programs is low across conditions:


Source: Accenture


Once they discover these services, patients value what they offer:


These are only two of the five findings in the excellent infographic. This study made me think about how patient support programs are promoted and how healthcare marketers can get the word out to their patient populations. Three possible areas for improvement are HCP communications, social promotions, and expanding reach.

HCP Communications

One of the most trusted channels for communication to patients is through their doctors. If your HCPs (both physicians and nurses) understand the benefits your support programs offer they will be much more likely to encourage patients to look them up. Physical materials that physicians can provide to patients such as brochures are useful, of course, but digital messaging can help busy HCPs remember to provide them.

Social Promotions

More and more patients are seeing health messages on social channels and this area is relatively underutilized by support programs. Getting the patient support program on social channels can help expand the communication choices that patients have, increase satisfaction, and get the word out to more potential members. Once the program is on the channel it can leverage sponsored posts as well and get the benefit of paid exposure like this one for a doctor discussion guide hosted on Healthline:

Facebook sponsored post for MS doctor discussion guide

Facebook sponsored post for MS doctor discussion guide

Expanding Reach

One more way to get more people talking about your support program is to simply get more people on it. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg, however, for the reasons we discussed above so another idea is to expand the number of patients who are eligible for some of your support services. Obviously a copay card will only be valuable to a patient on your treatment, however maybe you could open up counselling services to all patients (including those on competing brands) and create a larger cohort of members to spread your word. This, coupled with a sophisticated CRM program can help create a fan base rather than a user base.

These are just three ideas for expanding the awareness of patient support programs, there are many more. As the Accenture report shows, your audience is eager to hear from you, they just haven’t yet received the message.

More About the Author

Brad Einarsen

Brad is Klick's Senior Director leading the social practice. His group ensures that clients get the best bang for their buck on the social platforms.

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