The three essential ‘E’s of the U.S. patient experience

In the decade since the Institute for Healthcare Improvement laid out its ‘Triple Aim’ framework, U.S. payers and providers have aligned on the need to deliver a better patient experience. Together with lower costs and improved outcomes, it’s one of the legs of the “three-legged stool” upon which the Affordable Care Act was constructed.  And even as policymakers try to take a chainsaw to that surprisingly sturdy stool, bettering the patient experience remains a lodestar of health reform efforts and a key differentiator for new market entrants from the tech world (e.g., Amazon, Apple and Oscar) as well as incumbents like Geisinger and CVS/Aetna.

To help our pharma clients help their customers deliver a better patient experience, we pored over our 2017 patient study data and identified three key areas of unmet need where brands can lend a hand:

  • Empathy: Medical schools began taking teaching bedside manner seriously in the ‘00s, and patient satisfaction has been engrained in our system as a financially-consequential KPI for hospitals and health systems. Yet patients tell us still they aren’t seeing much empathy from their doctors – 22% strongly agree that “My doctor doesn’t understand what it is like being a patient with my condition.”
  • Empowerment: “The Empowered Consumer” sounds so… Fifteen years ago? Yeah, yeah, we all have the Internet now, and 1 in 3 of us look up health info on our smartphones right there in the waiting room or exam room. But HCPs aren’t always great about involving patients in treatment decisions and contextualizing their options. Forty percent agree that they wished their doctor provided them with condition education materials that are personalized to their health situation, and 33% said condition info brochures they get from their doctor are too generic.
  • Expense: There’s a reason that half the real estate on Rite Aid’s homepage is devoted to cost savings and value for customers – 1 in 4 U.S. online adults tell us that medication costs are impacting their treatment choices more than they did two years ago (and pharmas, note that 12% of U.S. online adults say they switch Rx drugs based on which one has the best financial assistance program available!).

Pharmas have deep knowledge of the patient journey they can leverage to help physicians connect with their patients, and a storehouse of valuable tools and resources that doctors can share with patients to help them navigate that journey and afford the best treatments for them. There’s also a fourth factor – convenience (or Ease of Use, for the sake of consistency) – that pharmas can address by making their patient interactions as friction-free as possible – for example, by reducing impediments between scripts and fulfillment, or through beyond-the-pill value-adds that plug systemic gaps in healthcare connectivity.

Clients can check out our recent report, Patients Are Consumers Now: Lessons for Pharma in the Age of CVS/Aetna and Amazon, for ideas on taking a page from Big Tech and helping their customers better care for the ultimate end user, the patient.

Want to learn how to tailor experiences to best meet patient needs? Visit the DRG Digital client portal or request more information below: