The last decade has seen dramatic change in the healthcare sector with influence shifts and power struggles that have pharma, biotech, and device companies, as well as agencies, payers, providers, and patients, more focused on scientific and technologic innovation. The tumultuous struggle among stakeholders has generated nationwide outrage and is poised to be a central topic in America’s 2016 presidential election.1 Politicians, physicians, and ultimately consumers will likely remain fervently critical of drug prices and expensive imitation medicines rather than focus on the value of scientific innovation investment that leads to novel products that improve lives.2
We are proud to be a foundational partner in bringing the bench science to life for these stakeholders. “Bringing Science to Life” involves many dynamics that drive decisions and the ability to improve patient lives around the world:
- Healthcare professionals’ available time being stretched by provider, patient, and administrative requirements that limit capacity to obtain new disease or treatment knowledge
- The perception of many providers that the available information on disease and treatments is not credible or applicable to real-world practice due to this information originating from industry, payers, providers, and even government organizations that have inherent bias toward their individual agendas
- The increasing complexity of the decisions that confront healthcare professionals that results from the daunting array of diagnostic and treatment options, along with the fact that patients and caregivers are now better informed and are challenging recommendations
- The value analysis that is based on the balance of quality-of-life impact and access with the inherent cost of treatment
The ability to access and obtain complex information in a credible and easily transferable mechanism is the holy grail of today’s medical healthcare interaction model. The foundation of this quest is a convenient and cost-effective connection of healthcare professionals to discuss relevant information that is centered on patients, practice, and validated outcomes. This approach aligns with today’s reality that public and private insurers are flatly refusing to pay for expensive treatments that don’t represent a significant benefit to patients or that threaten to negatively impact national health insurance programs. Historically, industry companies would seek approval for a medicine or treatment that was slightly better than an already existing approach, while the new paradigm requires industry to invest billions of dollars in new, more complex treatments with innovative, yet untested, mechanisms that are more tailored and personalized to smaller patient groups.
A compelling finding from an online survey of 2156 members of the National Organization for Rare Disorders illustrates the degree of peer-to-peer interaction among caregivers and patients with chronic ailments. Twenty-three percent of providers, caregivers, and patients with diabetes, heart and lung conditions, cancer, or some other chronic health condition say they have gone online in order to discuss available treatment options with peers. Some of the most notable interactions involve providers, caregivers, and patients with rare diseases who bond and enrich their lives through in-person encounters with those who have similar challenges. Seventy percent of adults in a national survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International said they received information, care, or support from a healthcare professional. Meanwhile, 55% of these adults said they turned to friends and family, and 21% said they turned to others who have the same health condition.3 This illustrates how the knowledge transfer model for patients is changing.
This evolution is pushing the research-based pharmaceutical, biotech, and device industry, along with provider organizations and payers, to provide more fact-based types of informational support to healthcare professionals and even consumers. Knowledge is power, and everyone wants more relevant information from credible sources when delivered within a mechanism that optimizes time, technology, and personal preference. The new knowledge transfer paradigm increasingly prefers peer interaction that allows for real-world discussions on how information can truly impact practice and patients. Organizations that optimize data with opinion leader credibility, practice insight, and innovative knowledge transfer strategies will be better able to bring the science to life and place relevant knowledge in the hands of those impacting patients.
- Lorenzetti L. Here’s how your health care is going to change in 2016. Fortune Web site. http://fortune.com/2015/12/16/health-care-trends-2016/. Accessed September ???, 2016.
- Nordrum A. Top pharma and biotech trends: What to watch out for in 2016. International Business Times Web site. http://www.ibtimes.com/top-pharma-biotech-trends-what-watch-out-2016-2235052. Accessed September 29, 2016.
- Fox S. Peer-to-peer health care. Pew Research Center Web site. http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/02/28/peer-to-peer-health-care-2/. Accessed September 29, 2016.