I’m attending CES this week, which is where the industry comes together to focus on healthcare through the consumer lens. At BrightInsight, we always start by thinking of the consumer role in healthcare and how to solve patient pain points with digital solutions. After all, no matter how innovative or technologically advanced, a digital solution can’t drive impact if it doesn’t get used.
In a recent HealthXL panel I participated in, “Driving Adoption for Non-Prescription Digital Therapeutics (DTx)” ” we discussed the challenges and solutions in patient adoption. For a digital solution to be successful, a patient must be aware of the solution and motivated to use it. That means patients must download an app, register, engage with it and keep coming back. Check all of those boxes and you’ve cracked patient adoption.
The other participants and I all agreed that the easiest way to get patients to adopt a digital health product is for their doctor to recommend it. But health care providers aren’t typically as involved in non-prescription DTx. So how should biopharma and medtech companies that are building digital solutions like DTx and software as a medical device (SaMD) drive patient adoption for these digital products?
Our panel suggested several strategies.
Consider the pain points for the patient and ensure the solution you build eases them and provides a valuable improvement to their journey. And don’t stop once it’s on the market. Continue to evaluate the data and feedback to determine where you can improve or personalize the experience. All but one of us believed personalization is possible when scaling a non-prescription DTx.
Patient advocates who are familiar with the patient journey and its pain points for a given disease state can help you keep the people who will use it at the front of mind when designing the patient experience and interface. This feedback is invaluable. They can also help raise awareness amongst patients, though their reach is often limited.
Having a call line or in-person point of contact—or linking directly to a brand’s patient support program—can add a human touch that builds trust and helps patients manage their disease more effectively. Building a human relationship can also help motivate behavior change and build habits, and can often start with digital enablement within the solution.
Nothing drives patient adoption like a doctor’s recommendation. To get a doctor to spend their limited patient time recommending your digital health product, it needs to provide something of value to them. That might be boosting medication adherence or providing valuable data. Data can be integrated easily into their EHR, though physicians’ sentiment is often mixed on the value this provides versus the risk it can introduce.
Pharmacists theoretically have the opportunity to see patients even more frequently than healthcare providers. That means they could be a trusted voice to recommend the solution and increase compliance, but there are currently few incentives for pharmacists to do so. There may be an opportunity for brand leaders to experiment with pharmacist outreach.
What factors determine the patient engagement rates of a non-PDT solution?
Involvement of the care team: 25%
Specific characteristics of the therapy: 25%
Therapeutic area: 18.8%
Sociodemographic group: 6.3%
What is more challenging when driving patient adoption for non-Prescription DTx (non-PDT):
Raising patient awareness: 50%
Defining what good long-term patient engagement looks like: 37.5%