Content Marketing and Patient Information Journey, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Sanjay Mehta

With the internet serving as an essential resource for education and empowerment, people are taking their health, and all decisions about how to manage it, into their own hands. This has resulted in a more consultative approach in health care where the patient and the doctor are equally involved in selecting the right course to treat and manage the recovery from a particular disease. Healthcare Professionals (HCPs), with all their specialist knowledge and information, now engage with their patients who come with their own research into the conditions they suffer from.

Things haven’t stayed the same for pharmaceutical companies either. Previously, medical professionals acted as a bridge between the patient and the pharmaceutical companies, where the medical professionals took care of the communication part with the patient. But this is no longer the case. Patients and their families are now actively involved in the search for their cures. This has led pharmaceutical companies to interact directly with end patients as well, especially through digital content, where the patient and their family are widely informed and educated about the disease and the proposed cures.

This change for the pharmaceutical industry can be considered one of the most impactful, because for the very first time, a significant amount of common knowledge is shared simultaneously between the pharmaceutical company, the patient and the healthcare professionals.

Now let’s understand the patient journey. The patient journey has always been highly relevant for healthcare organizations as they needed to step in by connecting to the patient with relevant content, at the right moments in the patient journey. While every marketing effort is an opportunity to connect with your audience, the goals have changed and it’s all about the quality of your content rather than the quantity. So what exactly is the patient journey now? Simply put, a patient’s journey is a collection of experiences through the healthcare system. It describes the complete journey of a patient, from the first symptoms until the end of the treatment. These are real-life situations of how far patients have come, highlighting their biggest issues with drugs, doctors, and the healthcare system in general.

Once the patient journey is taken into account, pharmaceutical brands are able to effectively improve patient outcomes because they are able to connect at the right times and influence patient opinions through the right empowerment programs. patients. By knowing which patients are struggling with certain issues, brands can prioritize which patient groups need more help and education. And finally, a patient journey improves communication at all levels and between all parties involved in the process. Pharmaceutical brands, sales reps, physicians, and patients are all aligned and informed about the patient experience.

Each patient journey reveals a completely unique profile and timeline that is essential to understanding and meeting the patient’s healthcare needs. So, to align the right content at the right time in the patient journey, we need to look at key timelines in the patient journey.

The key deadlines being:

  • Crawlers
  • Walkers
  • Runners
  • Leaflets

Caterpillars come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the disease. They are the researchers for whom certain chronic and progressive diseases and conditions can take years, even a decade, before a person finally gets an accurate and demonstrable diagnosis. So, in this case, the patient and family usually begin the process of finding the diagnosis with little or no knowledge about the disease. For this reason, they seek information from reliable, reliable and objective resources on the web. The most common web traffic drivers for this type of content are search, which either leads to the discovery of direct resources or to a patient advocacy group which may have its own resource pages, as well as links to other reliable resources.

Once the disease is diagnosed and the patient’s condition recognized, the patient is now able to name the affliction and begin to address it directly. This stage of the patient’s journey can be described as a walker. This is the stage where the patient and families will connect with similar patients and share information and perspective on the disease. And when it comes to digital, walkers will be looking for trusted web platforms that feature patient voices that can shed light on their path during this dark time. This could include patient blogs and columns, patient forums and Q&As, as well as interactive content promoted through social and media platforms and groups. At this point, social media joins search as the main traffic drivers, and it becomes essential not only to talk, but also to listen to patients on these platforms.

Runners are a relative term when it comes to a patient’s journey. It is during this time that patients and families become part of supportive communities and begin to internalize their diagnosis as part of who they are as a person. The resource and information pages may no longer be useful because the patient and family are already familiar with the digital content relating to this disease. Currently, multimedia content such as videos, panel discussions and podcasts are appealing because they offer deep dives into understanding and living with the disease. The search would be relatively small as it would only be done for the latest updates and news for the remedy, and so it turns out that paid media becomes the leader, as does any promotional opportunity around subscription or distribution by e-mail.

This is the stage when the disease and the patient have known each other for a very long time and the patient is well acquainted with all the information required for this disease, hence the research no longer remains relevant. Flyers themselves are now becoming the leaders and they are sought after to help crawlers, walkers and runners while keeping a close eye on the latest news and updates. Digital content from this period is typically more scrutinized and validated by patients later in their disease journey, making them powerful influencers in online communities. They are usually leaders in social media groups and patient forums and have a very limited reach for the information they seek in terms of drug development and research. Typically, email and subscription drivers are where to find these patients, along with disease-specific information, patient columns and blogs, and social media forums/groups.

The bottom line is to be there at the right time and at the right time, being there every step of the way is very crucial and it literally makes sense for healthcare marketers to invest in the patient journey by using the right content at every stage.

Sanjay Mehta, Jt CEO, Mirum

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