The Evolution of the Impact of Point of Care
On March 24, 2021, Larry Dobrow, executive editor for MM+M, sat down (virtually) with Damon Basch, VP, Clinical Workflow Solutions at Veradigm, for a chat about evolving your strategy for point-of-care media in the age of COVID-19.
While sales models for everyone from biopharma companies to healthcare technology companies were experiencing shifts prior to the pandemic, models have been evolving at an expedited rate since COVID-19 turned the world upside down. Necessity, that old mother of invention, has accelerated digitization of all things; be that as it may, Basch believes that it is important, perhaps more so than ever before, to recognize the personal value of pharma field teams.
The personal touch
“At Veradigm, the providers and HCPs are our customers,” Basch said. “They tell us how much they learn and benefit from their direct relationship with detail and field teams and we see plenty of surveys and studies saying as much as well. What has changed, is that independent physician groups have to scale up to survive. They’re joining larger groups and larger health systems, which makes it much more difficult to gain access to them. Related to that, analytics and targeting tools have evolved with real time data to allow a multi-channel approach to those same doctors that can either augment and in some cases, replace that sales them.”
Basch offered an example to illustrate, saying, “Imagine a prescriber initiates a new patient on a very expensive biologic. In the past, a rep would have been activated to ensure that prescriber knows how to prescribe it, process a prior authorization and connect the patient to support services. So much of that journey is becoming automated but hasn’t negated the impact and relevance of direct communication.”
From Veradigm’s point of view, involving pharma partners in conversations about how to participate in and better navigate telemedicine encounters is important, but one must remain aware of regulatory compliance requirements and marketing in this new ecosystem.
“Things are evolving so quickly that it can be very difficult to keep up if you don’t have deep expertise in the channel,” said Basch. “We think telemedicine is a critical part of the communication, provider and patient journey moving forward, but we have to understand how to do it safely, compliantly and effectively. As the marketplace for pharma to engage with point of care grows is growing more sophisticated and scaling higher and higher, detail teams remain critically important. As access shrinks, using electronic and technology channels offers providers experience with tools, support and resources.”
The term “point of care” has evolved over time, but it’s certainly broadened during the pandemic according to Basch, citing how different players define POC differently — from intake to the waiting room to home — a new area emerging rapidly as applications, tools and communication channels between the clinic, provider and patient grow more interactive.
“Our viewpoint is that POC is multi-channel,” Basch said. “There is a really dizzying array of POC companies providing access at different stages of the patient and provider journey. The data output from these various channels and the analytics engines that can consume them — in many cases in real time — are driving understanding of whether or not promotional tactics are driving an appropriate change of behavior. If they’re not, you have the ability to tack and reallocate those marketing expenses in a more meaningful way.”
The value of holistic understanding
In answer to what makes messaging EHR providers so valuable, especially compared to some of the other POC media solutions out there, Basch mentioned value versus scale.
“From the EHR perspective, when we’re looking at a POC environment, it’s much more focused on value in that moment in time,” he explained. “That clinical encounter should inform you about the nuances of the provider, their practice, what their patient load looks like and how they prescribe and treat. If we were to deliver messaging that didn’t take into account all of what their practice and clinic does, we wouldn’t be able to craft a meaningful message that will have significantly more impact than a spray and pray mentality.”
When it comes to creating an effective overall strategy for HR media, Basch believes it all starts with understanding the point of view and key objectives of a brand.
“If you look at a brand with a horizontal marketing strategy, they tend to go down the RFP road, where they send them out to 100 different vendors, the vendors check the boxes, they put in their provider accounts, they put in their tactics and you win the business or you don’t,” he said. “But getting beyond that, being able to sit down with them and build a bespoke strategy … the outcomes driven from that type of strategic conversation become enormously beneficial. When we’ve earned the right to have those types of conversations with marketers, it always drives a better outcome.”
So what to do when your media partner cites a reach that sounds, well, a little out of reach?
“You also need a way to define reach,” Basch explained. “A vendor may claim to reach 100,000 providers, but does that mean they’ve logged into a website or an application once in the past year? Have they fully consented to the data rights to allow their information to be used for measurement? Is it all traffic at a terminal that’s used in a clinic by multiple practitioners? … I very much advocate for as much transparency as possible and hope that our colleagues in the marketplace do the same.”
And as for healthcare marketer or media agency leader takeaways that can be applied directly to business today?
“If you want to know about the provider, prescription or patient journey, ask what your brand looks like in pricing in the middle of any prescriptions, what the real time benefits verification are, what the prior authorization, copay solution and specialty medication workflows look like,” suggested Basch. “You’d be surprised how few actually understand what it looks like when their drug is represented in the prescribing journey. You want to make sure that whoever is making plans for a brand or defining a strategy for point of care, understands exactly what happens when a physician is in the middle of that journey.”
In conclusion Basch added, “We’re here to share our solutions with pharma, but we’re also here to educate; when we educate first, our solutions are so much more impactful.”