Pharma may have only one chance at patient “engagement”

v10r7wordleKEY TAKEAWAY: Consumers don’t really want a prolonged relationship with a pharma company beyond the product because they don’t see “the value” that pharma companies provide.

I’m knee deep in research for the website development on cancer and we are learning something new and surprising everyday.  The latest key finding is on the level of engagement of patients and caregivers want/expect from a pharma company and it’s a pretty clear indication that they see little value in online pharma programs.


When we asked patients/caregivers if they wanted to engage with (have an ongoing relationship) with a pharma company the overwhelming majority (87%) said no.  When we delved a little bit more to ask “why?” respondents said “they don’t see the value of an ongoing relationship”.  I wanted to know more so we asked some in depth follow up questions we heard that most feel pharma product websites just don’t provide enough support/information on the disease and provide the tools they need.  They often go to other websites to fill in the missing information. However, it’s not all bad news..

Most people (71%) said they would probably go to a pharma product website to get information on medications.  What they especially wanted to know as safety/side effects.

OK..So Where Does This Lead Us?

1ne: Your website is your first engagement tool and your most important.  You have one chance to get it right via website visitors.

2wo: You need to measure engagement via time on site and page views.

3hree: Disease state information and support for patients is critical.

Bottom Line: We keep hearing and talking about “patient engagement” but it appears that the patient’s idea of engagement is different from pharma’s

Surprisingly, participants told us that “trust” with pharma was not an issue except when it came to using a pharma social media site.  A couple of people had told us, for example, that they had gone to a pharma Facebook page only to have similar sites appear in their “suggested sites”. This made them very uncomfortable.

Research: Qualitative, Atlanta, Miami, Houston  n=190