Six firms specializing in point-of-care marketing have formed a trade group, DecisionPoint.
The companies—ThinkPatients, ContextMedia, RemedyHealth, Dudnyk, LeveragePoint Media/Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks and LDM Group—aim to educate pharmas and life science companies about “the value, benefits, and proper use of point-of-care communications,” they said in a statement.
Joe Meadows, the executive director of the organization, attributes the timing to three trends: increased focus on adherence, a greater need for personalization through relevant data, and the growing prevalence of health tech.
“Point-of-care is growing at a rapid rate,” said Meadows. “We know the need to communicate with the patient in the provider's office or pharmacy is growing exponentially.”
One component of point-of-care communications is electronic medical records, which deliver information about new prescriptions almost immediately—sometimes even in the exam room.
“When you can deliver information about the medication, and why it's important, in this automatic way, rather than through a busy provider, you give the patient the information they need to become more educated and more adherent,” said Meadows.
Meadows believes this way of delivering information is an essential complement to any campaign. “Relying exclusively on mass media probably hasn't been our industry's best way of communicating,” he quips. “Point-of-care allows you to deliver a much more personalized and relevant set of information through a trusted and credible source.”
Patients tend to become nervous when they hear marketers have access to their EMRs, many fearing their personal information will be leveraged for other sales opportunities or that they'll be bombarded with irrelevant information—which makes the data they need much more difficult to find.
“EMR is a powerful tool," said Meadows. "When you base information on someone's prescriptions that must be done appropriately and in a de-identified way. The companies that are active in this are doing a very good job of balancing out the need to deliver information with the temptation. We need to make sure there is some professionalism and ethics in this industry. There needs to be more self-policing or the potential for abuse becomes too great."