Category: Patient Journey

The Changing “Patient Journey”

“Patient Journey” studies in the pharmaceutical industry used to be rather predictable and formulaic. They were conducted with patients with particular diseases or conditions and typically focused very specifically on clinical events that unfolded from diagnosis through treatment. 

In this very informative piece, you will see that is changing. Many forces are at work that, as the title of the piece says, require us to use data to understand “patients as humans.” The events of the last 18 months have been pivotal here. With the COVID-19 pandemic, people (not just patients!) have become increasingly concerned with health issues, and are decreasingly willing and able to seek out information through personal visits to physicians’ offices. The result? A significant shift to a greater reliance on digital information sources. And the result of that? An increased ability of marketers to collect and utilize data to custom tailor messaging.

AND. Increasingly marketers using patient journeys are expanding their purview beyond disease. Traditionally, a patient journey study of cancer patients would track the steps in medical care from diagnosis forward. Radiation, chemotherapy, role of various specialists, etc. But a cancer patient is a person. A person that has anxiety, that wants to go to weddings, that has interests, priorities, obligations. Key here is the author’s comment that increasingly, marketers are coming to recognize that “the disease does not define the person.”

Bottom Line. Interesting stuff! Complicated stuff. This more holistic approach, empowered by digital data, suggests to me that we may need to develop some new terminology. Conatively, “Patient Journey” focuses us so much on disease that it may be too limiting.

Any ideas for replacement verbiage???

Synthesizing a Patient Journey

Check this out. What you will see is a description of the “LEAP” program, assembled by Alexion to permit their team members to get a more in-depth feeling for the 4.8 years and 7.3 specialists journey that the average patient with a rare disease traverses to get to an accurate diagnosis. Key moments, e.g. the point at which symptoms begin, are explored, and the roles of the various key players in the journey are investigated. 

In this piece, Alexion reports out the benefits they see from using this approach, some anticipated, others not so much.

Desired/anticipated results include the development of more empathetic thinking about patients on the part of their team members.

Unanticipated advantages include the opportunity for team members to learn to work with other Alexion professionals, in many cases people they had never even met. 

Bottom Line. As corporate “social responsibility” programs become increasingly popular among pharmaceutical companies, I am betting that we will see many more programs like this being launched by health care companies.

And I think that is a good thing!  A very good thing!!!