PharmaVOICE Blog Post

New report from Syneos Health Reveals Five Lessons about Reaching Caregivers: the Missing Link in Patient-Centricity

Posted By: Dan Limbach
January 11, 2019

True patient-centricity—one of the biggest healthcare buzzwords for some time—now calls for accessing the other people central to the patient: their caregivers. But these personalities, who are not just present throughout the patient experience but display a range of emotions and needs both akin to and separate from the patient’s, are incredibly diverse and characterized by a spectrum of behaviors. To enable you to access caregivers most effectively, the Caregivers Report from Syneos HealthTM answers the question: Who’s really at the center?

A caregiver, on average, spends more than 40 hours a week—equivalent to a full-time job—attending to the sick, often while also performing other, paid, full-time jobs. But despite their constant presence beside the patient, they’ve historically been ignored by the life sciences industry. Even razor-sharp companies have failed to see the central role of caregivers and meet them where they are.

The key to accessing caregivers is going beyond patient-centricity to patient empathy. The differences, while subtle, are profound—and they might revamp a life science company’s communication planning. The Caregivers Report from Syneos Health explains five core caregiver lessons to sharpen and maximize your messaging.

Relevance is a function of mindset. Just because two people share a particular set of circumstances doesn’t mean that they’ll find the same messages to be relevant. Behavioral science highlights two motivational styles that distinguish people from one another even in the same circumstances: achievers, driven by aspirations and growth, and defenders, driven by security and a sense of duty. This dichotomy frames the behavior of caregivers, and distinct messaging is called for in each segment.

Without context and empathy, the signal gets lost. A unique section of the Syneos Health caregivers survey demonstrates the divergent ways people interpret the same image or message, regardless of how it was intended to be processed. The risk of misinterpretation is often surprisingly high—specific, explicit language is required in order to spark a desired interaction.

Caregivers impose their own unique and profound meaning upon messaging they see. The importance of regularly testing both visual and verbal messaging cannot be overstated. Teasing out the particular meaning with which your audience imbues your own content will empower your tactics like never before.

Micro-influencers are powerful message amplifiers. Caregivers’ voices are small but mighty: on matters of treatment choice, adherence strategy, emotional support, and more. Research from Syneos Health reveals the staggering authority wielded by caregivers on matters both transactional (including choosing an HCP and a medical device) and longitudinal (such as compliance with treatment, monitoring the illness, and choosing to participate in a study). Successful messaging will balance the caregiver’s year-round preoccupations as well as their more discrete moments of decision-making.

Degree of influence should determine engagement strategies. High-influence caregivers have their own set of needs, like information about insurance plans, work-from-home opportunities, estate planning and more. A messaging approach should be markedly different based on this heightened influence alone—and must aim to engage them as the main decision-maker. Low-influence caregivers, on the other hand, will be more moved by communication that focuses on the patient.

According to a recent Harris poll, just 9% of consumers in the U.S. feel that life sciences companies prioritize patients over revenue. True patient empathy is the only salve for such deep mistrust of the industry. The above lessons, elaborated in detail in the Caregivers Report from Syneos Health, show how accessing patients and their ever-critical caregivers on their own terms can make a brand newly and vigorously patient-centric.

Read the report here.

About the Blog Poster: Dan Limbach

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