Thursday, 21 March 2013

How to improve patient adherence?

On the 14th of March, Julie Buis (Aequus Research) and Peter Cunningham (Branding Science Group) delivered an EPhMRA webinar dedicated to patient adherence.

It was recognised that non-adherence to treatment is under-evaluated and that it has a considerable financial impact. Some groups of patients are more likely than others to show poor adherence to treatments and adherence varies across treatments and therapy areas. There are many causes for the lack of adherence, which may leave physicians frustrated and/or powerless. The pharmaceutical industry may be able to help, by developing patient support materials and programs, that will be endorsed by the relevant healthcare professionals. 

But beyond the execution and tools such as youtube videos and leaflets, we need to understand the underlying causes of non adherence as well as the key drivers for adherence. Understanding what drives adherence as well as what drives the lack of adherence will enable to develop strategies to encourage the right behaviour.

However, encouraging a certain behaviour (in this case patient adherence) is a very particular communication challenge because behaviours result from a multiplicity of interdependent factors. Hence, to increase patient adherence, the pharma industry and physicians alike need to understand the language as well as the arguments that resonate with patients.

The short film below illustrates the various purposes of communication and how a better understanding of your audience will help shape stronger, more effective messages.

If you would like to learn more about patient adherence, the webinar is still available for members on the EPhMRA website. It discussed the definitions of patient adherence and why it is an important issue for the pharmaceutical industry. It also explored further the causes for poor adherence and commented on the current array of programs designed to improve adherence.

The author: Axel Rousseau is brand scientist at Branding-Science and has been working on international market research and consultancy since 2008.