Outcome Health isn’t sugarcoating the point-of-care experience with smiling patients in its latest initiative, In These Rooms.
The campaign’s goal is to educate pharma marketers about the myriad needs of patients at the point of care. Many are facing life-changing moments at the doctor’s office, like a couple hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the first time or an elderly couple getting news that a treatment isn’t working.
“The point of care is one of the most emotional points in the patient journey,” said Matt McNally, CEO of Outcome Health. “They’re not at home googling symptoms in the comfort of the living room or watching TV seeing a direct-to-consumer ad. Patients walking into the point of care could be thinking their child might have the flu or be concerned about their mom’s forgetfulness. That moment when you walk into a hospital and doctor’s office is so emotionally charged, so fragile. We wanted to start a movement to challenge the pharma industry and agencies to support that patient when she is vulnerable.”
It’s a departure from many depictions of the doctor’s office, which often show smiling doctors and patients. In These Rooms captures the anxiety, relief or sadness that many people experience when visiting their doctor.
McNally said that when he spoke to clients about patient needs at the point of care, he would see “head-nodding,” but he wanted to get their attention and spur change in a different way with these videos.
Most healthcare marketing tries to drive patients to the doctor, which inherently sets point-of-care campaigns apart. Patients are already at the doctor’s office, and marketing initiatives should reflect that.
“What we want them to understand is the role of every other channel a pharma marketer uses in their mix,” McNally said. “TV, digital, satellite radio. The role of those channels is to drive [patients] to the doctor. The creative developed for those channels is usually ‘ask your doctor’ or ‘make an appointment.’ If you simply repurpose that creative at the point-of-care, it’s not going to work.”
Instead, he suggested creating “empathetic” content for patients feeling vulnerable or anxious at the doctor’s office or hospital.
Last month, Outcome teamed up with Verywell to bring its health and wellness content to Outcome’s point-of-care devices. That partnership is intended to bring “content wrapped in empathy” to patients at the point of care, an idea that pulls through to the In These Rooms videos.
“We are rearchiteching our own Outcome Health content strategy, and we want to show agencies and [drug] manufacturers,” McNally said. “We’re telling them what we’ve learned, and also optimizing our content strategy with what we’ve learned.”
Before the videos went public last month, McNally said he heard feedback from the film crew and actors that they reminded them of their own experiences at the doctor. Outcome developed and produced the videos in-house, tapping into the previous roles of McNally and other Outcome leaders at creative agencies.
“Every pharma company’s mission talks about patients, that they deserve the best or are at the center of everything we do,” he said. “My feedback is that the best and exceptional care isn’t easy. As a challenge to the industry, if were going to say those things, we really need to pull it through to everything from pipeline research to marketing and patient support and education.”