When patients are overwhelmed

KEY SUMMARY: Our healthcare system is broken.  When patients need to go to several doctors and it takes months to treat even simple health problems something is wrong. What happens, though, when navigating out healthcare system proves too much?

Three years ago I broke my shoulder bike riding in downtown Boston.  Ever since then I have been dealing with bad nerve pain in my hand that often keeps me awake at night.  For three years I have been going to a range of doctors to get help and I have heard every excuse in the book like “nerves take a long time to regenerate” to “we’re not sure if it can be repaired”.  Finally, after seeing a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic I am going to have surgery in two weeks, but not after more appointments with different doctors and a lot of time on the phone trying to get medical records sent to my surgeon.

I have the will and strength to try and find a solution, but what about patients who are either too busy to coordinate all that’s needed for treatment or too old to understand what’s really needed?  They fall through the cracks and unfortunately add to the cost of healthcare here in the US.

Pharma websites are dedicated to acquiring new patients and while some do have content for current patients the content is often generic and stale .  HCP’s are trained to treat conditions not people and very few actually have the time to ask “how are you doing managing this issue?”.

 

At a time when patients are looking for as much information as possible on how to live with and manage chronic health issues pharma websites should be a “go to” resource rather than a sales acquisition tool. There are some great opportunities to enhance pharma branding with this approach, but it requires out of the box thinking and a willingness to stop asking “what’s the ROI”.

 

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