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6 minute read

Driving behaviour change for positive patient outcomes in pharma

In the world of healthcare, patient behaviour plays a crucial role in determining treatment outcomes and overall well-being. As pharmaceutical companies aim to improve patient adherence and outcomes, they have a unique opportunity to positively impact patient behaviour change.

Doctor and pregnant patient consultation In stream
by Sophie Abbott
16 August 23
  • Behaviour Change
  • Patient Engagement
  • Digital Pharma

In this article, we explore key approaches that can be adopted to foster positive patient behaviour change.

By understanding the factors that influence patient behaviour and employing effective strategies, pharmaceutical companies can empower patients to make informed decisions and actively participate in their own healthcare journey.

Education and awareness

One of the primary ways to influence patient behaviour is through education and awareness initiatives. By providing clear and concise information about medical conditions, treatment options, and potential benefits, providers can empower patients to make informed decisions.

This can be achieved through various channels, including online resources, educational materials, and partnerships with healthcare providers. Additionally, pharmaceutical companies can invest in public health campaigns to raise awareness about specific conditions and the importance of adhering to prescribed treatments.

In a recent project, we collaborated with a pharma client to conduct a diary study for young people living with haemophilia. The long gaps between appointments with HCPs meant that the picture provided in consultations didn’t always accurately reflect patients’ health across the previous 6-12 months. The digital diary tool allowed patients to record their symptoms over time as they occurred, facilitating better quality conversations with HCPs and more tailored treatment recommendations. This is an example of how behaviour and habit change on the part of patients — in the form of answering regular questions about their health to form an ongoing diary — can enable better health outcomes.

Patient-centric communication

Effective communication is key to fostering positive patient behaviour change. Our user research with patients on behalf of our pharmaceutical clients has shown how they can facilitate patient-centric communication by using plain language and avoiding jargon that may confuse or overwhelm patients.

Clear instructions, dosage reminders, and information about potential side effects will also all contribute to patient understanding and compliance. Utilising digital platforms, such as mobile apps or patient portals, can further enhance communication by providing personalised support and content, and real-time feedback.

Supportive resources and tools

Pharma organisations can provide supportive resources and tools to help patients overcome barriers and facilitate behaviour change. This could include smartphone applications that track medication adherence, reminder systems, or interactive platforms that provide tailored treatment plans and lifestyle recommendations.

When creating effective digital support tools and content, accessibility and ease of use is key. With effective UX and UI design, patients will be able to intuitively navigate and interact with your tools to truly benefit from the services on offer. Additionally, partnering with patient advocacy groups to develop online communities can provide a valuable network of support, allowing patients to connect with others facing similar challenges and share experiences.

Learnings from behavioural science

Incorporating insights from behavioural science and research can significantly impact patient behaviour change. Techniques such as goal-setting and positive reinforcement can motivate patients and encourage sustained engagement. Pharma teams can often leverage existing technology to create interactive apps or online platforms that reward patients for achieving treatment milestones or adhering to prescribed regimens.

First-hand user research insights

When seeking to understand what will motivate patients to positively change their behaviour, there’s no replacement for speaking to them first-hand.

Conducting patient research, interviews and usability testing is a great way to understand what patients really want and need from their care offerings. In one recent project, we partnered with a specialist biopharma organisation to conduct user interviews with patients living with an ultra-rare life-limiting condition. This in-depth insight about the daily lived experiences of patients has informed the design process for a new digital patient support tool.

By fully understanding their patients, companies can ensure the products or programs they develop are always aligned to their needs.

Collaboration and partnerships

Collaboration between pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and patient advocacy groups is essential in driving positive behaviour change. By working together, stakeholders can align their efforts to provide comprehensive care and support for patients.

Pharma organisations can partner with healthcare providers to develop educational programs, conduct joint research, and ensure consistent messaging. Collaborating with patient advocacy groups allows for a deeper understanding of patient needs, preferences, and challenges, resulting in more tailored interventions that promote positive behaviour change.

Supporting patients to take control of their own health

When it comes to living with a disease or other health condition, knowledge is power. The strategies outlined above aim to allow patients to better understand their own condition, so they can make more informed decisions and change their behaviours in a way that will positively impact their lives and health.

By teaching patients and their caregivers to recognise their symptoms and join the dots between health-related events, we can help alleviate anxiety and uncertainty and empower patients with more in-depth knowledge.

Final thoughts

Pharmaceutical companies have a unique opportunity to positively impact patient behaviour change by implementing various strategies. Through education, patient-centric communication, well-designed support tools, behavioural research and insight, and collaboration, organisations can empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey.

By fostering positive behaviour change, pharma and other providers can contribute to improved patient outcomes, better treatment adherence, and ultimately, a healthier society.

If you’re looking for an experienced digital design and research partner to support you in creating patient-facing digital products and services that drive behaviour change and impact, get in touch.

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