18 Feb Meet the pharma industry’s newest decision-maker
by Jayneel Patel
Is there a new decision-maker to drive innovation and research for today’s pharmaceutical companies? You can bet on it.
Meet the patient.
Patients are playing a prominent role that is no longer limited to the post-cycle of getting a medicine created and then distributed. They’re not simply the consumers in this whole model, but they are actively engaged in developing the model itself.
Traditionally, patients have either been just part of the clinical trials or they’ve been the end consumer, but patients haven’t been a part of the research and development side. Until now.
To put things in perspective, in 2021, there were about 4.69 billion prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. And yet, on average, the FDA only approves about 12 percent of drugs submitted for clinical testing. This averages out to be around 38 new drugs each year.
With that pressure, pharmaceutical companies use precise science to predict what sales will look like for a drug being sold in the US and international markets. They want to know exactly how their sales will perform. And data is a foundational part of that process.
We’ve talked about the research and development part in terms of how it collects rich data from the patient. Personalized medicine, getting the drug, using the right formula, with the right indication, is going to be important to make sure that the dose will truly work for whatever stage the patient is in.
But now comes the commercial part of the drug business: the pharmaceutical business, which is launching the drug out in the market. Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud to run that clinical trial and get the true demographic is essential.
Among the different data points, the data collected through Salesforce Health Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud can assist in those decisions, and (hopefully) minimize the guesswork about the target demographics.
But let’s examine the nature of the data itself and how elevating the patient’s role in drug development enhances data viability. This happens in two ways: personalized medicine and patient services.
There are three areas where personalized medicine has been playing a strong role: oncology, pediatrics, and gene therapy. But the pharmaceuticals industry is beginning to see that personalized medicine won’t be limited to those three areas, but it will play a role in other areas as well. We started to see signs of that during the COVID-19 vaccine and creation management process where a single treatment—a single formula—did not serve equally well to everybody.
So the whole concept of personalized medicine has become more prominent where the medicine itself is tailored to the patient’s specific need, body type, and—in oncology, for example—to the stage of your treatment or disease.
The second area is patient services. This includes getting patient feedback in every aspect of the cycle but then also giving patients the opportunity to engage and influence how the drugs are created and how they will be impacted in their day-to-day overall.
There was a time when the pharma industry relied on healthcare providers to share patient feedback. But oftentimes it was hard to assess whether or not that message was at any point in time altered or accurate or complete. Now, the pharma industry can create a direct channel with the patients through these custom patient channels.
That’s where Salesforce Health Cloud is a strategic move for pharmaceutical companies. Health Cloud is moving the conversation from just collecting data to patient engagement, which generates valuable data for product and research strategies.
This digital platform presents outreach options through multichannel and omnichannel capabilities that invite patients to engage using their preferred channel. It also enables interdepartmental connectivity. For example, if your call centers use Salesforce Service Cloud, Health Cloud can connect with that system where both patients and providers are calling in with questions and sharing information.
That same system can also externally connect to other institutions, like payers and providers, through interoperability, thus allowing for speedy pre-approvals where you need pre-approvals and getting patient data where it might be applicable to have access to patient data for the purposes of research or for better patient service.
Salesforce Health Cloud is truly inclusive of all the different areas. Its job is not only to help pull data together but also to support a system of engagement for the patient so that pharmaceutical companies can now get data that’s rich, complete, accurate, and in abundance to finally know how their drugs are acting and reacting in the body.
The pharma industry is beginning to find ways to not only listen to patients directly, but they’re trying to engage with them as well. Salesforce Health Cloud, along with Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, create a seamless experience to support that process.
Jayneel is VP, Healthcare & Life Sciences, here at Simplus. With a Ph.D. in engineering and MBA from Duke and over 15 years of experience, Jayneel designs and delivers empathy-driven innovative solutions in healthcare. He has developed digital strategies to reduce risk, increase visibility, and improve patient and member satisfaction. His passion is to enable better care through technology.