The world of pharma data is changing rapidly. With the rise of technology–especially smartphones–many new and highly personalized sources of data are emerging. One of the most exciting areas of innovation is patient-generated real-world data.
Often referred to as the "voice of the patient," real-world data can provide valuable insights into how therapy performs in patients' day-to-day lives, as opposed to controlled clinical trials. Real-world data has long been highly sought-after; physicians, as well as pharmaceutical companies, want to know if a prescribed medication is proving effective for patients, if it works better than a competing drug, and more.
But capturing that information on a large-scale basis and in a manner that reflects patients' actual experiences—which may include trying to get the kids to school, feed the dog, and get to work on time—has always been difficult. Physicians typically had to rely on patients' limited recall discussed during brief follow-up office visits, while pharma companies were dependent on feedback from rep visits with physicians, time-consuming phase four studies or other expensive market research.
A smarter way to gain real-world data
With the rise of mobile technology, it's easier than ever for physicians and brands to gain real-world data and real insights from patients who have been prescribed medication. RxSurveyor™, a mobile solution offered by EngagedMedia™, a division of Aptus Health, is now capturing such data in branded patient survey campaigns to capitalize on this opportunity.
Aptus Health has decades of experience offering digital patient feedback programs. With the recent acquisition of EngagedMedia and its mobile-first platform, the company has launched RxSurveyor as a next-generation solution to capturing and applying real-world data.
"We wanted to help foster an even more effective conversation between the physician and patient by giving patients simple ways to give feedback on their experience with the product," says Rick Morello, president of global life sciences at Aptus Health. "Taking a 'mobile-first' approach has proven to be a great way to accomplish that."
Timed to pharmacy events such as prescription pickups and refill reminders utilizing personalized real-time claims information, the RxSurveyor solution sends opted-in patients short, simple surveys asking about their experience with a brand. The surveys are conducted via text message, push notifications, responsive webpages and other digital media forms, all customized to the brand under study, and often integrated into a brand's existing mobile app. "We can use all kinds of digital engagement tools," says Joe Jackson, senior vice president of product management and operations at EngagedMedia. "It's all about making it easy for the patient."
The surveys might ask, for example, about patients' satisfaction with the brand, whether they intend to continue using it, how it compares to prior treatment(s), etc.
The collected data is used to produce two types of reports: a report on each individual's experience, which is shared with their personal physician, and aggregated, anonymous reports that are shared with the sponsoring pharma company.
The individualized reports are intended to help strengthen the relationship between patient and physician by empowering more meaningful and supportive discussions about the patient's experience during later office visits. These reports also help to build brand awareness among physicians, as well as help them to better understand how a medication might work for other patients.
"It's a practical way to hear the voice of the patient on some very simple dimensions that can have an impact from a brand strategy standpoint," says Morello. "When the physician hears feedback from even a few voices, it can have a broader effect on how they think about the next set of patients for whom they might prescribe that drug."
The aggregate reports help pharma brand managers identify trends in the real-world use of their therapies. They can learn how satisfied patients are with the medication, if they are experiencing adherence issues or side effects, and more. In some cases, the real-world data provides insights that the company can act on immediately. For example, patient feedback might reveal that many patients don't understand how to use a certain type of medication correctly, leading the company to quickly alter its support program to explain an issue better. Or feedback might reveal a common adherence problem that might lead to changes in their communications with doctors.
Real-world data = real-world impact
Previous real-world data programs run by Aptus Health have shown positive results. One MS medication saw a 7.5% increase in prescriptions written among participating physicians as a result of a six-month campaign across more than 6,000 patients. That campaign resulted in 6:1 ROI, as well as valuable brand insights for the brand and sales teams.
In another campaign focused on an asthma medication, patients reported a 40% reduction in symptom frequency, and 95% said they intended to continue using the medication. That campaign, which involved over 1,000 patients over six months, led to an ROI of 2.6:1. Today, with the mobile-first platform and proven engagement expertise of the RxSurveyor solution, the company expects that these types of results will only increase.
Physicians clearly value such feedback. According to a 2018 survey conducted on Univadis, Aptus Health's medical news platform, 88% of providers said that "real-world information helps them talk with other patients about a certain medication."
"Physicians are very receptive," says Jackson. "They want this type of information, it empowers their patients and it empowers them in their practice."
Many pharma companies have also recently recognized the value of such data and are now ramping up their real-world data capabilities. According to a recent Deloitte Insights report, 90% of survey respondents in the life sciences industry are now building their real-world data capabilities, driven by "pressure to demonstrate value for access and reimbursement, the need to better understand the patient journey, increased data availability and greater acceptance of RWE [real-world evidence] among regulators."¹
But while these companies are pouring money into ramping up their internal capabilities over time, few have practical solutions ready to roll out now. Alternatively, companies that partner with EngagedMedia through their RxSurveyor™ solution can hit the ground running. EngagedMedia can quickly customize a program to start collecting valuable data from patients who are using a branded therapy right now.
"Anything in the digital realm can be empowered by our platform," says Jackson.
¹Deloitte Insights. Mission Critical: Biopharma companies are accelerating real-world evidence adoption, investment, and application. 2018.