Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Physician to Pharma: Engage the Patient!

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Heart Doc Envisions More Meaningful Role for ePharma in Patient Care

By Marc Dresner, IIR

It's not a sentiment one might expect, given DTC's sometimes tense relationship with physicians. 

But Dr. Jordan Safirstein actually wants pharmaceutical companies to interact with his patients directly and in potentially more influential ways.

From a healthcare provider's perspective, advertising to patients would seem intrusive enough; anything more would presumably constitute an intolerable land grab.

Jordan Safirstein
But the cardiologist says he wouldn't be opposed to seeing pharmaceutical and device manufacturers overtly insinuate themselves in the healthcare process. In fact, he's encourage the industry to do just that.

"I feel like there is a lot more [pharma] could do in terms of helping patients with compliance, educating patients about their disease state and not just the medication that they are taking," Safirstein told Inside ePharma.

The opportunity as Safirstein sees it would be most pronounced in the digital space—apps, digital interventions, streaming educational content for patients, etc.

And it seems a natural next step when one considers the potential of interactive media in the context of broader healthcare trends.

“[Pharma] can fill in the gaps that currently exist in medicine.” 
- Dr. Jordan Safirstein

"Now that pharma has been restricted from providing anything without an educational component to it, maybe they should redirect their strategy toward becoming a useful resource beyond just manufacturing medication," Safirstein said.

"Pharmaceutical companies have many more resources than physicians do," he added. 

"There is no doubt that additional assistance, especially to support physicians in their goal to make patients better, can only be a good thing."

In this episode of the Inside ePharma podcast interview series, Safirstein discusses: 

• Why the time is right for pharma and device manufacturers to engage patients on an entirely new level;

• What that engagement should look like; 

• And why physicians and other healthcare providers will appreciate the shift!

Editor’s note: Dr. Jordan Safirstein will be featured on a panel at the 13th Annual ePharma Summit taking place February 10-12, 2014 in New York City.
For more information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.
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