Excerpts from an article by Tim Davis at ERT:
Many industry leaders believe that one of the most exciting opportunities for improving healthcare is the development of digital health solutions that can help manage disease, improve outcomes for patients and positively support healthcare professionals (HCPs) to improve the provision of care.
However, in order to be effective, these solutions need to be built on a concept of patient-centred design. This goes much deeper than simply designing a user-friendly interface; solutions that work in the real world must effectively support everyday tasks and the patient’s own goals while also being engaging to use.
Here we review what we’ve learned about designing effective patient support programs and the steps pharma can take to ensure the solutions they provide truly meet patient needs while also aligning with their strategic objectives.
There are so many different ways that digital health programs can provide real patient value, but — not surprisingly — many early digital programs have failed to deliver on their promises. This is because most initial programs were designed to support what the organisation (i.e., the pharmaceutical company or healthcare provider) believed would work, or, how they wanted patients to behave.
We now know that patients want control over how they engage with technology; they don’t want to be told how and when to interact, and they expect real value as a result of their interactions. We’ve found that when patients can choose which elements they want to engage with rather than being forced to respond to a cascade of questions, they are a lot more open and willing to continue their interactions with the technology.
Therefore, we need to provide tools and services that take these and other patient-centric factors into consideration when designing digital health programs. This applies whether the program is intended to improve quality of life, help patients understand their illness, or facilitate better conversations with healthcare providers.
Before jumping into a support program’s design or considering how it can be best executed, it’s critical to truly understand the patients’ problems and explore how a digital health solution might solve them.
It is essential that digital health solutions address validated needs and produce evidence to measure improvements in clinical outcomes for real people living with any acute or chronic condition. To do this, we must align with significant clinical interventions that work beyond the medicine’s clinical effectiveness.
The focus for any digital health solution should be on the desired behaviours being sought, not the technology itself. This requires building interventions on a sound foundation of behavioural science. Human beings are not always rational in how they make decisions; this is no different when it comes to health.
It is imperative that a solution provides genuine value to the user; this needs to be the primary objective of any digital health strategy.
Our current culture tempts us to throw all kinds of technology into digital health programs, but this approach rarely proves successful. The only way to drive effective patient support programs is by first asking: How can we make patients lives better and create a path forward to engage with them on a longer-term basis? Only then can we make decisions about which technology to use.
Implementing effective patient support programs that work in the real world requires more than technology alone. Programs that will stand the test of time must start with a thorough understanding of patients’ problems before technological tools can do their job and deliver any real value.
The key is to put the patient first. By aligning strategic objectives with patients’ needs and designing personalised programs around individual attitudes and beliefs, digital health solutions can support better, more relevant and highly sustainable patient support programs that truly improve health outcomes.(PV)
Read the full article here: https://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2018-10-patient-support-programs