Digital Patient Engagement

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Insights for the Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry is being reshaped by a set of economic, behavioral, and technological megatrends. Digital technologies are a major contributor to transformation in the industry, yet our research suggests that many pharmaceutical executives don’t see digital disruption as a significant threat.

New modes of communication have primed patients to be receptive to digital forms of engagement. We define digital patient engagement as an information flow between a patient and a pharmaceutical company mediated directly or indirectly by digital technologies.

Digital patient engagement is a growing trend within the wider healthcare industry, and pharmaceutical companies have been generally slow to adopt ways to get closer to patients via digital tools and technologies. By contrast, non-traditional players like Google, Microsoft, and IBM have become active participants in digital patient engagement.

Based on interviews with 30 executives, this report identifies the primary challenges and opportunities for pharmaceutical companies in the process of developing digital patient engagement initiatives. The benefits of effective engagement with patients are numerous, and include enhanced quality of patient care, improved health outcomes and faster and more effective research and development. However, significant challenges remain, including restrictive regulations, a deficiency of digital capabilities, and lack of buy-in from top leadership.

This report provides examples of digital patient engagement initiatives launched by pharmaceutical companies, technology companies, and other industry stakeholders. It also provides suggestions on how pharmaceutical companies can overcome the most common barriers to the development and effective implementation of digital patient engagement initiatives.

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