Empathy: where do patients start?

empathypatientsPOST SUMMARY: In order to be great DTC marketers, we have to better understand patients and the wealth of health information that consumers have to sort through just to make basic healthcare choices.

In the last two weeks there were major healthcare stories on Medical Devices Lack Safety Evidence and generic drugs may not be the same as branded drugs. If you’re an engaged patient who is trying to make informed and educated healthcare decisions you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time online trying to get the information you need or you’re going to have to trust your Doctor hat he, she, is making the right choice for you.

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There is an opportunity for pharma and biotech companies to really make a difference, but it requires that we take off our marketers cap and put on a consumers hat and try to understand what they want and how they are confused when it comes to healthcare choices.  We need..

(1) Empathy– We need to understand what it’s like to live with chronic conditions or have a nagging health problem that won’t go away.  We also need to understand the frustration of navigating today’s healthcare environment.  This is a key reason why content, within the digital media, is so important by segment and health condition.

(2) To continually update our content to reflect media stories that can affect healthcare choices.  Pfizer, for example, just sent me a card for branded Lipitor because of the cost and issues around generic statins.

(3) Be careful between selling and informing/educating – Consumers don’t like to be sold.  They want the bottom line and we have to provide that information with the understanding that patients might not like what hey hear.

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(4) Use more credible sources of health information – To this day whenever a client has included articles written by thought leaders they are among the top pages viewed.

(5) Finally, get out more and listen to patients – Both thru research and via social media and act on it.

The Internet had brought forth a lot of information, but it seems that most patients are left on their own to determine which sources are good and which ones are pure bull.