Nil Navaie, director, insights and innovation, Wunderman Health DC

Health decisions are influenced by perceptions and preconceptions as much as physiological realities. A recent study we conducted showed that 32% of respondents “won’t take immediate action” even if they are aware of a health threat. As marketers, we inform consumers about options, but findings like these demonstrate the importance of motivating as well as educating. Helping patients realize their own “a-ha!” moments that will lead them to better health decisions, and recognizing that those critical moments are just the tip of the iceberg. Adherence requires deeply influencing habitual behaviors by motivating and building trust with patients. It’s about using emotion to inspire action and empowering patients to transform their own individual a-ha moments into genuine manifestations of life routines. This transformation is multifaceted and requires a new type of personalized marketing, which integrates advanced analytics and technology to better understand individuals’ motivations and deliver the content that inspires them to change. While this might sound daunting, marketers can reallocate current resources and, using technology, take simple steps that make their content work harder to inspire better adherence and, ultimately, health and wellness.


Greg Flynn, regional president, Ashfield commercial and clinical services, U.S.

More resources are always nice to have, but smartly using existing resources can go a long way towards fostering change now. Achieving patient adherence is undeniably challenging. We have found that the best approach is to start with panels comprised of patients, caregivers, advocates, and physicians, the purpose of which is to uncover key elements of the patient’s disease experience. The output of these panels allows us to map a communication stream in both content and delivery modalities that resonates with the population being served. Building upon the messaging, communications are reinforced with field or remote support of patient and physician staff. By using a messaging structure designed by those who receive the communications, marketers can create a truly impactful program that improves adherence and leads to long-term change without straining resources.


Kate Perry, director of behavioral science, Atlantis Healthcare

Long-term behavior change is complex, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it requires a huge amount of resources to address it successfully. In fact, endless resources won’t help if you don’t invest in understanding the “why” behind the behavior you want to change. Spending a fortune on a new shiny gadget to help patients remember to take their medication won’t work if the patient is intentionally nonadherent. Likewise, providing disease education through a flashy app won’t support better adherence if the patient doesn’t believe they need the medication. Once you understand the “why” for an individual patient, you can tailor the intervention to ensure you address the patient’s need. Of course, it requires resources to identify the reasons why — and to build and deploy matched interventions — but these costs will likely be recouped through sustained behavior change.


Tom Kottler, CEO and co-founder, HealthPrize

According to a report by Capgemini and HealthPrize, pharma forfeits an estimated $637 billion per year globally as a result of non-adherence. This represents the largest “last-mile problem” of any single industry. And yet no pharmaceutical company has a chief adherence officer, none mention this issue at annual meetings or in annual reports, and few discuss this critical revenue- and outcomes-related issue as a strategic matter for their businesses. The issue is not doing more with less, but rather finding ways for brand management, commercial leadership, and the C-suite to work together to treat non-adherence as the strategic imperative it is, and to develop processes that allow for more strategic and less tactical programs to be developed, assessed, and expanded to improve adherence.