Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How a Digital Strategy can Help Healthcare Solve the Triple Aim

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By Peggy Salvatore MBA

I am writing this in possibly the biggest week for health tech junkies all year. Last week, the Consumer Electronics Show (now simply known as CES) rolled out acres of new tech toys, many of them in the health wearables space. This week, it’s all about investment in healthcare innovation in San Francisco for the invitation-only, highly-coveted JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. JPM16 is where the biggest thinkers and deepest pockets in the healthcare world converge to make deals that can change the direction of the industry.

Until recently, I was fond of using the term “evolution” to describe change in healthcare. That term needs to be jettisoned. It is just too soft. We are in the middle of a healthcare revolution as evidenced by the glut of health tech gadgets at CES and the amount of cash flowing in San Fran this week. The revolution will be nearly complete by 2020 when digital natives dominate the world.

This is very good news for pharmaceutical sales and marketing. Because just as new reimbursement models based on value and outcomes are dominating the payer landscape, we are going to be handed the tools to be able to reach patients and providers directly using their preferred methods of social media. And we will be able to measure – with precision – the effects of those efforts.

For a deeper dive on the changes in sales and marketing, and a perspective on their need to merge their efforts, read this PharmExec.com article by Todd Greenwood Ph.D, Sales & Marketing: Reaching the Unreachables.

Solving the Triple Aim – Once and For All

The Triple Aim. It’s shorthand for the healthcare conundrum of improving access, lowering costs and improving quality. I have recently seen the Triple Aim renamed the Quadruple Aim to include the improving the provider’s work experience. More on that next week. Whether you buy into the Triple or Quadruple Aim theory, digital health resources hold the promise to deliver results.

So, while it can safely be argued that the pharmaceutical industry has a public relations problem, it also has the clout to help solve the Triple Aim conundrum and put some of its much-maligned sales and marketing efforts into using digital health resources to:
  • Access: Reach more patients, even those who can’t afford healthcare
  • Cost: Improve things like medication compliance to keep down the high personal and financial cost of chronic disease burdens
  • Quality: Improve quality by using its sales and marketing power to deliver more targeted messages specifically where the data shows the greatest need.

These are just three ideas in a sea of thousands of ways that digital approaches by pharma can help solve some of healthcare’s biggest problems.

Imagine that pharmaceutical companies can go from Villain to Hero by moving some of the dollars they are already spending into areas where they can make a direct difference on outcomes. The providers and payers are going to be demanding outcomes for payment, and the use of the right drug, at the right time, in the right patient using targeted digital outreach and data collection is a critical part of that solution.



Peggy Salvatore MBA is a healthcare writer and trainer specializing in pharmaceutical managed markets sales training and health IT. She also has authored books and training programs on leadership and working with subject matter experts. You can read her blogs at www.healthsystemed.com and www.workingwithsmes.com
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