Monday, August 25, 2014

Using Digital to Reach the "King of the Mountain"

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“Across most of the United States, the mountains of market access are Rocky Mountain High, and the Payer is King of the Mountain,” writes Patti Peeples.  So is pharma getting it right with payers?  From the digital space specifically, that answer is a resounding “no” according to Patti.  She’s used to hearing that legal and regulatory restrictions hamper the entire process.  While that excuse have held true a few years ago, in today’s day and age it’s exactly that—an excuse.

Where exactly should pharma start in looking at a digital strategy?  Good question.

From your perspective, what’s the most important thing to address in a payer digital strategy?

Patti: Well, if I was inside pharma and I was the decider, so to speak, I would approach this problem with the following roadmap. First, I would attempt to address the siloed mentality that naturally occurs within the organizational structure as it relates to promoting to the payer and managed markets arena. Currently, in the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies, there is a strategic separation between sales, marketing, managed market, ePromotion, as well as the HEOR – the Health Economic and Outcomes Research - Department. Each one of these stakeholders is involved in formulating payer promotion, but presently they typically live in different parts of the organization.

Using Digital to Reach the "King of the Mountain"
If the payer is "king of the mountain", how can pharma reach them?
They have different incentives and metrics for success. So, it is essential to get these groups on the same page with respect to payer promotion. And then you can move from that of how you are promoting to payers, what sections of that payer promotion are you going to leverage in the digital environment.

The second group that I would address internally within pharma is the legal and regulatory department as they relate to digital promotion and promotion of health economic information. And I think that with an ability to address the natural silo mentality, then a strategy can flow naturally from that.

I would also spend quite a bit of effort in helping these internal stakeholders to understand that promoting digitally to payers requires a changing of the focus from how we are promoting digitally to providers, that is doctors, and consumers. Payers require a business-to-business focus as opposed to a business-to-end-user or end-prescriber focus.

Most importantly, I would simultaneously be doing some market research to speak directly with the payers to identify their needs and desires with respect to digital. How can pharma attain that less contentious relationship with payers and help those payers get to the more customer-centric and value-based approach that they hope? And how can the pharma industry help them achieve that with digital methods?

You can download the entire interview here.

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This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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