The Path to Patient Centricity: Part III

By Regina Shanklin

Learn more from Regina Shanklin on how being useful to your audience and patients will help increase the relevance of your brand communications.

There are four key steps to ensuring that your brand is patient-centric. If you integrate these four points into your marketing efforts, information about your brand will become more relevant, actionable and drive more patient engagement.

In our last installments, we discussed meeting a patient on their journey and being understandable to your audience. The third step to patient centricity is being a useful brand for patients.

  1. Be Useful:

Patients don’t label themselves as “disease sufferers.” They are a person first that has health issues to contend with. Their disease does not define them. Once you acknowledge this, you can understand that a valuable role from their POV is to help them overcome obstacles from the disease, letting them live life on their terms by addressing the key issues below:

  • Side effects and how to combat them
  • Social issues – disease stigma – and how to overcome
  • Where to get additional support
  • Comorbidities

Provide information that treats the whole person in terms of what they are up against with their disease, rather than just talking about the treatment alone. Multiple Sclerosis drugs are great examples of doing this. For example, Avonex would provide info on other medications that would address Avonex’s side-effects to make it more tolerable and increase patient retention.

For most chronic conditions, patients usually have comorbidities. Although you cannot address these conditions head-on because of regulations in off-label promotion or broadening your indications, you could give a head nod to the obvious solutions. For example, most diabetics also have heart disease. Offering recipes that are also low in sodium as well as carbs would be useful options that consider the needs of the whole person.

Taking a more holistic approach and providing information that is relevant, practical and useful concerning all aspects of the disease treatment can set you apart from the competition. Patients are more sophisticated and are having more say in their treatment options. Delivering more value to them through showing that you really understand what they are up against should increase preference for your brand as well as improve compliance and persistency.

Visit Part I and Part II of this series to learn more about meeting patients where they are and being understandable, and take the next step on the path to patient centricity in Part IV of this series, “Be Engaging.”


About the Author: Regina is a marketing strategy consultant specializing in marketing strategy in the Healthcare industry. Her clients range from pharmaceutical/biotech and healthcare non-profits. She has helped clients enhance the strategic skills of their marketing, develop business cases to enter new markets, and develop new synergistic products and services that significantly increased revenues. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Regina worked for Sanofi as the Senior Director of Marketing for the Plavix, Lantus and Avapro brands. In these leadership roles, her experience spanned consumer/patient marketing and professional marketing. In addition to being a well-rounded marketing leader, Regina has a specialty in patient engagement. Regina has experience spanning marketing, finance, operations and, combined with her engineering background, has helped her bring a fresh perspective on solving business problems. Regina received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University.

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