What do patients want from their doctor?

consumer-healthcare-exchange_chealth-blogKEY TAKEAWAY: As consumers of healthcare, patients want more from their doctors and don’t really understand the need to make an appointment to get prescription renewals.  There may be an opportunity for pharma to help patients engage their doctors online.

I guess I am lucky.  When I need an Rx renewal I can just do to my doctor’s website and request that they send it to my local pharmacy.  I can also access my test results online and my doctor will even prescribe some new medications without an appointment if it’s within reason.  I just make sure to have an annual physical and share with her any and all medications prescribed by other doctors.

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In reviewing a year’s worth of various research on EHR and what patients want I am with the majority who want to be able to get Rx renewals and review tests online.  To say that most EHR vendors aren’t listening is an understatement.  Most doctors hate paying high prices for an EHR solution that needs frequent updates or is in the “cloud” which, to them, means more invoices.

Is there an opportunity for pharma to join patients and their doctors to inquire about prescription drugs?  I think that depends on the medication and health condition it treats.  Some health problems do require a doctor to evaluate the “whole” patient while others really do not.  For example, when an MS patient I know wanted to switch to a Biogen drug she simply had an email exchange with her doctor who agreed that it was in her best interest to try the Biogen drug.

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There are potential barriers to becoming more integrated in the conversation however.  Pharma must ensure that physicians are comfortable with this approach and share clinical data as to why getting a patient on or switched to a medication can provide better outcomes.  In addition, if pharma can help get patients into see their doctor I’m sure that would be welcome.

Doctors are going to have to learn what it means to be “customer centric” and focus on patient needs beyond basic healthcare.  Patients want communication on “their terms” and don’t have time to take time to make appointments to get the medications they want and need.  Can pharma identify these opportunities and leverage them without seeming too intrusive?