Two Butler/Till Health Group members, Nicole Hamlin and Julianne Kirkpatrick, had the opportunity to attend the Point of Care Communication Council (PoC3) Summit: Elevating Healthcare at the Point of Care in October 2016. With the patient and doctor conversation in the exam room being the “moment of truth” for many of the brands we work on, point of care continues to be a key opportunity area to guide the conversation in a favorable way for our clients.

Below is a Q&A with Nicole and Julianne on some key takeaways from the summit:

How is point of care advertising valuable to patients? To the HCP?

Julianne: Point of care advertising is valuable to patients because it provides another level of exposure to educate themselves on their health care. The summit really drove home the point that patients and doctors have this disconnect. Patients feel as if doctors don’t have the time to listen to them and that doctors are not always transparent with their dialogue. On the other hand, doctors suspect that patients look to self-diagnose based on the latest news story they heard or information online, and sometimes at the expense of following doctor recommendations. By being able to be present at the point of care, marketers have the opportunity to increase communication between doctors and patients and help encourage better dialogues.

Nicole: From a patient perspective, point of care advertising can be valuable to patients throughout their treatment journey, depending on how it is activated and the messaging that is utilized. A few key areas that stood out to me as opportunities for brands (outside of the standard treatment information) are at the diagnosis phase and the empowerment phase:

  • Diagnosis Phase: At this phase, the patient is feeling overwhelmed and trying to accept his or her new condition. Point of care provides an opportunity for brands to deliver the patient’s first look into his or her condition (opportunity for unbranded messaging).
  • Empowerment Phase: This is a key phase that pharmaceutical marketers often refer to as adherence, but patients don’t think of it that way. It’s important for brands to be supportive in this phase and help the patients live their life without worry over their condition, which will translate to adherence and Rx refills.

On the professional side of things, providing useful and honest information (and limiting the bias of that information) can help satisfy the doctor’s need to “fill-in-the-blanks” with their patients in the limited time they have together at appointments.

What are a few things that brands should keep in mind as they look to test in-office media?

Julianne: Be genuine and transparent. Transparency is one of the main complaints from patients, and doctors want to help patients become fully educated on their condition. Deliver utility in any point of care advertising that your brand places – use the platform to benefit the doctor’s ability to communicate and increase the patient’s level of understanding.

Nicole: Similarly, in any point of care activation, it’s important to consider the two audiences that will see your brand’s message at point of care – patients and healthcare professionals. For a point of care campaign to be truly successful, the messaging and how it is delivered will need to provide utility and value to both parties in the exam room. Brands should look to be timely (provide the right support at the right time), be relevant, and be part of the solution (What does the patient need? What would help the healthcare professional in his or her everyday practice?).

What is the one takeaway that stood out to you as a result of attending PoC3?

Nicole: When looking at your brand and the condition that it treats, it’s important to consider what you’re “leaving on the table” if the brand is not active in point of care – e.g., Is there another brand that is more favorable for doctors to recommend if they aren’t prompted by your brand in the office? Is there a new competitive launch on the horizon that will outspend your brand in traditional channels, and can point of care provide an opportunity for higher share of voice at the key decision moment? Point of care provides a unique opportunity to close the conversation loop and drive the final treatment decision, and should not be treated as an afterthought or add-on to your marketing strategy.

Julianne: I took away the strong, positive impact that marketing can have within the point of care space, and how much innovation is possible in this space. The last presentation of the summit introduced the idea of augmented reality as a connection tool for patients and doctors that stuck with me.  This company created a simulation ‘game’ in which a doctor can walk through a visit with a patient and be scored on things like empathy, communication, etc. A patient can also participate and is challenged to fully explain symptoms to his or her doctor. The concept is something so simple, but the innovative way it was brought to life can change how patients and doctors interact with each other.

Nicole Hamlin
Nicole Hamlin

Account Supervisor
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