Social Health: Reinventing the Patient Journey

Contributed by:

Jack Barrette, Chief Innovation Officer, Health Union

NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.

Welcome to the next generation of the patient journey. It’s a journey that’s no longer vaguely linear — patients are now benefiting from practically infinite human connections enabled and accelerated by digital communication. Those connections have transformed the patient journey from a path to a constellation of dynamic interactions — fueling the explosion of social health, and forever changing pharma’s role in it. Social health may sound like a new spin on social media, but it’s much more.
Social health is the connection, community, and socialization of patients across the entire social sphere, including communities, groups, messaging, video, and audio, both on and off social media platforms. Social health extends to HCP conversations, with patients online and in telehealth visits but also with each other in their own social channels.

Goodbye, Straight Line from Awareness to Diagnosis to Treatment to Management

Even a simplified social health patient journey ricochets around the constellation of connections, leaping from a TV commercial to an in-depth patient community discussion of treatment options to a telehealth pre-diagnosis to a patient influencer interaction to an online HCP visit and prescription, and back to the patient community for peer-to-peer advice on the medication.

For well over a decade, Health Union (now combined with WEGO Health) has been catalyzing the social health explosion building trusted patient communities, empowering patient leaders to use every digital channel possible, and driving for more human connections for a healthier world.

Health Union’s recent survey of 2,371 respondents found that 95% of patients look to connect through various social resources to find answers about their own health experiences. A new health-related event typically spurs these connections, such as a new diagnosis, symptoms, or medication.

Before the dawn of social health, patients would speak with doctors, family, friends, and ask Google about what they’ve learned. Today, these events still happen, but interwoven between them are essential interactions like patient community connections via groups, websites, and other means of social support.

Creating Meaningful Moments

As the industry reaches patients through social health in those meaningful moments, patients report they’re more informed and confident when they engage in social health connections:

86% better understand their condition

73% can better communicate with healthcare providers

69% feel more informed about treatment options

64% feel smarter as it relates to their condition

62% feel less alone in health experiences

For pharma, it’s time to adopt a new approach to the patient journey — driven by constantly changing patient needs with each health-related event and human connection. It’s time to understand better where and how to reach patients with relevant messages that address their ongoing curiosities, expanding community connections, and the patient’s underlying need for more information.

Social health’s infinite potential is dynamic and exciting, reinventing the patient journey footpath into a glowing constellation of opportunities. Countless star clusters represent condition communities, patient groups, peer-to-peer connections, HCP-patient connections, and the digital bridges that connect them. These connections happen continuously across the sphere of social health, frequently among millions of engaged patients within Health Union’s growing portfolio of communities, and constantly among our network of 100,000+ patient leaders. Health Union delivers smarter, more effective solutions for the industry to make these imperative patient connections in the moments that matter most throughout the patient journey. Ready to reach for the stars?(PV)

Health Union, with the recent acquisition of WEGO Health, maintains the largest team of experts, patient advocates and healthcare leaders dedicated to social health. The company encourages social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. Health Union does this by creating condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns.
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