While the last century has seen a boom in new medicines and healthcare technologies, the fundamental relationship between patients, healthcare professionals and the pharma industry has stayed the same - until the outbreak of Covid-19.
The pandemic has made us reevaluate how we access information, driving people to look to digital for answers. Rob Barker, CEO at OPEN Health explains how this has affected pharma:
"Covid-19 has changed healthcare in many positive ways: it's increased patient involvement and created a greater need for education and adoption of digital tools. Patients have become increasingly willing to take control of their own healthcare journey."
Dominic Marchant, Digital Health Expert at OPEN Health gives an example of how pharma has recalibrated its relationship with digital:
"The industry has had to look at how they talk to customers in a virtual way. Their field force cannot go and talk to customers face-to-face, so by utilizing digital channels, they've been enabled to have those conversations in a predominantly digitally-driven manner."
OPEN Health is a healthcare agency that brings together a deep, scientific knowledge, global understanding and broad expertise to support their clients in improving health outcomes and patient wellbeing. Rob Barker explains their approach:
"We're built from a partnership across specialist sectors to ensure that patients have access to the best medicines available. Our team of researchers and medical communications experts simplify the complex data generated from clinical trials, making it clearer and more engaging to healthcare professionals and patients. Our involvement supports the medical needs in bringing new drugs to market and educating physicians on the use of the drug in their practice."
Sonya Snedecor, Executive Director, HEOR E&A Global DIgital Lead at OPEN Health says that evidence generation is the main way in which the company gains market access:
"Having a branch that deals with evidence generation and communications sets us apart in our marketplace: there are medical communications firms and evidence generation firms, but we have both, providing our clients with a broader range of services."
As the pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, it is essential for OPEN Health to partner with stakeholders to generate compliant communications. Annemarie Clegg MD, Chief Medical Officer at OPEN Health, explains how this is achieved:
"Communications are developed in a manner that's compliant with all relevant regulatory guidance. We bring a comprehensive knowledge of the relevant guidelines that apply to clients’ specific projects to ensure that everything is done in a compliant and ethical manner. Effective communication is increasingly important in healthcare: there's a need to fight off misinformation. To drive decision-making, we need to ensure that that primary source material is technically correct, factually complete and disseminated in a way that is approachable and digestible for the target audience."
Dominic Marchant says that OPEN Health is fundamentally different in its approach to omnichannel for two reasons:
"Everything we do from insight through to course correction of any of our programs, is data-driven. The second part is that we're very much content-focused. We look at what the content should be, and then how omnichannel will enable you to deliver the right message in the right channel to the right customer at the right time. It starts with data informing that content."
Dorsata is a long-standing client of OPEN Health, with a history of working on projects from Medical Affairs to strategic aspects of drug development. Seema Haider, Pharmaceutical Executive at Dorsata, explains why she needed a partner who could understand the end goal from multiple perspectives:
"I think it's critical to work with an agency that puts patients at the center because we are all working towards improving the health of our patients in multiple ways. We're trying to develop better drugs, and generate better, more relevant real-world data that's representative of the patients in our communities. This information means that our healthcare professionals can treat their patients in a more comprehensive and effective way and improve their health."
The digitally-powered future will enable targeted communication that drives better health outcomes. For Rob Barker, this new-found ability to communicate across channels provides a clear roadmap for how the industry will develop:
"With these demands on healthcare and more focus on the needs of the people, OPEN Health really sees a future of continuous advancement in technology leading in particular to a heightened patient empowerment."
And that means better health for everybody.