Red Zone: Healing Patients With Digital Warmth: A Prescription for Life Sciences

Contributed by:

Bhaskar Sambasivan, SVP & Global Markets Leader, Cognizant Life Sciences

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Earlier this year, ReD Associates and Cognizant conducted an extensive research that cut across disease areas to understand how patients heal – that is, what happens when people face a health risk or issue and need to manage or overcome it. By participating in people’s everyday lives, we found that most patient experience the US healthcare system as cold and inflexible, so they “warm” their care by measuring outcomes according to their own goals; building care ecosystems of friends, family and fellow patients; and going through a process of discovery in order to fit treatment into their daily life.

Digital solutions and initiatives are ideal for warming the healthcare system—when they align with patients’ experience of healing. Our study suggests life sciences companies could focus on these capabilities:

Make clinical trial participation meaningful to a patient’s personal goals. Adapt patient protocols and digital health solutions to help patients identify, set and track personal goals, and give investigators the ability to monitor their progress, providing the support they need to stick with the trial. This approach should reduce trial attrition rates.

Enable a more transparent HCP-patient relationship. Create digital tools that help patients tell their full health and life stories to improve patient confidence in the HCP relationship.

Design integrated patient support programs. Knit together integrated, multi-channel patient programs that provide patients with the adaptive, personalized support they are seeking across all stages of their journey.

Take a patient-centric approach to marketing. Recognize and integrate patients’ needs and challenges into messaging that is organized around patients, rather than branded siloes, to drive consistent messages about what matters most to patients (and providers) across portfolios.

Wrap products in services that transcend medicinal value. Combine medical outcome-driven efforts towards medical measurement, live support and remote monitoring with a deep understanding of consumer needs and behaviors to deliver value specific to their disease areas.

Our study shows the best way to realize the promise of digital tools to make patient engagement more effective is to ensure apps, devices and processes are designed to incorporate the realities of how people manage their health risks and conditions. Measures and processes that are meaningful within the industry may not matter at all to patients. Providing features and assistance in ways that matter to patients will help them achieve their goals—and help the industry meet its objectives of better outcomes and greater efficiencies. l

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