- What to communicate
- With whom to communicate
- When to communicate
- How to communicate
Each of these is a critical component of a good communication strategy for any organization. As providers, patients and payers increasingly expect – and even demand – more accurate, concise and specific information, it is incumbent that pharma invest the necessary human and fiscal resources so they, too, can use these foundational elements to research and develop effective medical communication strategies for their targeted audiences.
What and with whom to communicate
In healthcare, messaging is a shared responsibility. Providers, payers and pharma all have a role to play in directing messages to patients. They also have an incredibly important role in communicating with each other. With multiple entities delivering messages using various methods, pharma communication pathways frequently overlap. Although receiving the same information more than once, in different venues and from different sources, can strengthen a message, developing a strategy that doesn’t account for partner or competitor messaging is a recipe for conflicting, confusing or contradictory communication.
Pharma must be deliberate in what they communicate. Providers, who are at the front line of healthcare delivery, need accuracy and transparency when researching treatment options and when talking with their patients. Payers and pharmacy benefits managers depend on accurate information to develop plans and formularies, and to advise providers, employers and patients. And, patients, who frequently gather information from various sources and show up at appointments with pre-conceived ideas as to what therapies they need, benefit from globally consistent, fully transparent and perfectly accurate information in their health communication.
When and how to communicate
Frequency of communication may not be as critical as the method used to communicate. However, using a communication calendar that builds messaging momentum over a designated timeframe and with a specific event or goal in mind gives structure and organization to a communication strategy.
Pharmaceutical marketing and communication with today’s technology and social media environment is driving companies to explore and invest in new ways to communicate with their audiences. A prime example of the importance and value of staying up with the technological times is medication adherence.
A study by the American College of Preventive Medicine shows that for every 100 prescriptions written:
- 50-70 are actually picked up and paid for at the pharmacy
- 25-30 are taken properly
- 15-20 are refilled as prescribed
Medication adherence is an example of a challenge that can be repaired via improved communication channels. Research shows that more frequent touch points with patients as well as improving their understanding of the value of a particular treatment leads to improved adherence. Check back later this week for some additional insights on pharmaceutical communication channels.
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