Nurturing Patient Ecosystems: 3 Strategies for Pharma Companies

Over the past 30 years, patient-based approaches that encourage patients to become involved in their own care have been created and implemented. The support of the patient ecosystem is one of the approaches that continues to evolve. A patient ecosystem consists of the patient, his or her condition, and the physical, emotional, social, and cultural factors that tie in with it. 

When your pharmaceutical company gains insight into these factors, it can shape strategies to nurture patient ecosystems that will not only improve patient outcomes but also help the patients in managing their conditions on a day-to-day basis. In particular, understanding some of the connections that patients commonly rely on, such as health care providers and online resources, will provide further insight into the patient ecosystem. Here are 3 strategies for pharma companies that employ some of the social and cultural factors in bolstering patient ecosystems.

3 Strategies to Nurture Patient Ecosystems

1. Educate Health Care Providers about a “Day in the Life” of a Patient

A health care provider (HCP) sees a patient almost exclusively in the context of a clinical setting but not in a patient’s home or work environment. Here is a great opportunity for your company to educate HCPs about the ways a condition affects a patient’s day-to-day life. Using this information, providers may be better able to offer patients suggestions better self-management of their conditions.

2. Gain New Perspectives from Influencers and Advocates

Bloggers and patient advocates can give your company first-hand viewpoints of the patient experience. As family members of patients or patients themselves, bloggers share their personal journeys in managing medical conditions with their followers and often have personal exchanges with other patients in the comments area of the blog. Patient advocates can also be a strong connection, as they know exactly the kinds of challenges patients face in navigating the medical system.

3. Use Social Media Sites to Listen to Patients’ Conversations and Offer Support

Patients are using social media to ask key questions and share their frustrations about their conditions through posting on social media websites. Some of these sites are familiar like online patient communities or common sites like Facebook. But other less expected sites such as travel or sports forums may also reveal some of the conversations patients are having. Your company can glean valuable information about the patient experience from these social media sites. These sites can also be a place for your company to offer support and information as long as it complies with regulatory standards that it must follow.

The patient’s journey in dealing with a medical condition is a very personal one, and the connections and environments that operate inside the patient ecosystem touch the patient on a deep level. Cultivating awareness of patient ecosystems and developing strategies to nurture them is the best way for your company to move from the “brand” to the “patient at the center of the brand”.

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