How Should Pharma Deploy Messaging in EHR Systems?

Angelo Campano, director, customer experience, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

HUB patient service programs that are integrated into the EHR are one way for manufacturers to take advantage of a dedicated, single point of contact. These programs allow patients and healthcare professionals to coordinate benefits, as well as provide drug education, administration, and ongoing support. Efficient physician interaction with HUB services in the EHR can provide comprehensive benefit verification, precertification and prior authorization support, and link patients and physicians using a common web portal — where the patient can view available cost-sharing assistance funds and easily submit required documentation. One study conducted by a TrialCard, a HUB services provider, found that when HUB services were integrated into the EHR, 42% of patients received HUB support.

Hudson Plumb, SVP, client services director, ghg (left)

With prescribers' average use of EHRs now more than double all other digital resources combined, tactics outside the workflow are at risk of not being seen. At ghg, we believe EHR strategy is a must-have for every brand. That said, brand needs vary, and no single approach is right for all. We categorize EHR strategies by data insights and workflow interventions. In terms of focus, the key is orchestrating tactics that best support goals. Breaking into big enterprise systems is not always critical. For most, working with a leading aggregator like OptimizeRx can achieve required customer reach. For launch brands, drug file integration, awareness, and patient financial support are important. Brands with guidelines support can benefit from larger clinical-decision support and population-health programs.

Kelly Pinola, digital healthcare analyst, Decision Resources Group

This year, it's really critical that pharma go beyond basic product marketing and support physicians with content that adds value, both inside and outside of the EHR. Simply offering messaging or banners in the EHR will not have an impact. More than four out of five EHR-using physicians in our recent study said they had not accessed and were not interested in accessing ads from pharma in their EHR system. Instead, physicians express interest in resources from pharma that help them better care for their patients — things like patient education, patient support programs, and patient assistance programs. Supporting physicians with the information they need at the point of care can boost brand equity and potentially impact clinical decisions.

Gabriel Cangiano, director of HCP and payer strategies, Intouch Solutions

EHRs are a unique challenge as they are both a physician tool (physicians hate them) and a communications channel (in its infancy). Pharma must be thoughtful in its approach and demonstrate value to be part of the EHR conversation. There is a careful balance that exists with regard to the appropriate taste and tone we want HCPs to associate with our brand. That means not treating an EHR like a journal with ad space for sale but instead as a useful tool that facilitates physicians' jobs. Pharma has the opportunity to provide value by connecting patients with information about their treatment and medication as they manage their patient journey. EHRs represent an unprecedented opportunity to show how helpful your brand can be in the patient care process.