By Mia Burns
Consumers want more online services from pharma companies to manage chronic conditions, according to Manhattan Research, which has released its ePharma Consumer 2012 study.
The study was fielded online in the fourth quarter from last year among 6,607 U.S. adults. The results reveal an opportunity for companies to place more focus on outcomes and longer-term customer value as a strategy to deal with generics and growing formulary restrictions.
According to the study, 30 percent of online consumers with a chronic condition and 38 percent of caregivers seek to register for a patient support program that would provide access to a range of services. The most popular features that appeal to patients are financial assistance, meal plans and recipes, tools to track and manage a condition, and a registered nurses hotline.
The fact that financial resources is included among the feature set is very telling of the economy and healthcare, according to Monique Levy, VP of research at Manhattan Research. Patients are very aware of the costs that they incur regarding their health. “When it comes to tracking a condition, this is something that still very viable at the moment where people are looking to find ways to better manage their condition and take advantage of technology given access to different kind of mobile devices,” she said. “We’re sort of at the dawn of a new era when it comes to managing condition remotely.”
Current program adoption varies depending on the condition, with 41 percent of online patients with multiple sclerosis using one from pharma. Also, 75 percent of online consumers who had used online pharma patient support programs reported feeling confident that their prescriptions are a good fit, or those that they provide care for because of these services.
“Patients are interested in patient support programs from pharma, and don’t necessarily mind registering for access,” Levy says. “At the same time, pharma isn’t top-of-mind as a destination, so marketers must consider partnering with other health resources such as general health websites, pharmacies and hospitals in an effort to gain traction for these programs.”