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6 minute read

Setting meaningful objectives for your digital health and pharma products

Measuring the success of digital solutions within healthcare and pharma can be challenging. Teams can feel overwhelmed by the amount of data available, or lost in terms of knowing how to set meaningful objectives that align to both business and customer goals.

Here, we explain why it’s so important to make the time to measure, and how to do it effectively.

by Anna Brooke
05 July 24
  • Measurement
  • KPIs
  • Digital Success

Assessing the impact and success of digital solutions within the pharma and healthcare sectors remains fraught with significant challenges. Our recent research with senior decision-makers in the sector revealed:

  • 64% said the metrics they track are not aligned with wider strategic KPIs

  • 61% face internal data silos and barriers to accessing engagement data

  • 54% KPI setting happens too late in the process

  • 47% believe there is too much focus on vanity metrics and short-term gains

  • 19% have no defined KPIs or metrics set for their digital solutions

One participant commented, “There is very limited knowledge about the effectiveness of our digital solutions, and gathering data on customer experience will be vital”.

Measuring the impact of digital HCP or patient engagement is more complicated than measuring something like product sales or conference attendance. This is due to the complex nature of healthcare interactions, the challenge of standardising metrics across various digital platforms, internal siloes limiting access to data, and the need to ensure patient privacy and data security.

Why measurement is so important

Despite the perceived challenges, it’s important that teams make the time to set up effective and meaningful measurement frameworks in the context of their digital strategies and solutions. Some of the reasons why measurement is so important include:

  • Ensuring project success: Measurement is crucial for evaluating whether digital initiatives achieve their objectives and deliver expected benefits, using specific metrics and outcomes.

  • Meeting customer needs: Careful measurement helps companies determine if digital solutions effectively meet the needs of healthcare providers and patients, enhancing user satisfaction and health outcomes.

  • Driving data-driven decisions: Measurement provides quantitative data to inform strategic decisions, enabling organisations to make accurate choices regarding their digital initiatives.

  • Providing a pathway to success: Clear measurement frameworks establish a tangible route to achieving objectives, ensuring clarity and accountability across teams.

  • Shaping future initiatives: Accurate measurement informs strategic planning, allowing organisations to refine approaches and prioritise projects with the highest potential benefits.

  • Securing stakeholder buy-in: Demonstrating digital success through metrics secures stakeholder support, essential for driving organisational change and new digital strategies.

  • Supporting investment decisions: Reliable measurement data validates the value and ROI of digital projects, advocating for continued or increased investment.

  • Promoting continuous improvement: Measurement fosters a culture of ongoing improvement, providing feedback that encourages teams to refine and enhance digital solutions consistently.

Key things to consider when setting objectives

When setting objectives for digital products, services, or strategies, several key considerations can ensure clarity and effectiveness.

Start with the ‘why’

Begin by clearly defining the purpose of your digital initiative. Understanding the overarching goal helps align objectives with broader organisational strategies and vision.

Engage stakeholders early

Involve all relevant parties from the start to ensure measurement frameworks meet critical needs and secure buy-in for additional support. Using a strategic partner as a neutral facilitator in this process enhances a more structured, collaborative and informed approach to building this framework.

Consider both user and business needs

Develop measurement frameworks that balance user needs with commercial objectives. This dual focus enables informed decision-making that supports both user satisfaction and organisational goals.

Importance of using insights, not guesswork

Base objectives and success metrics on data-driven insights rather than assumptions or opinions. This approach ensures that opportunities and goals are defined with accuracy and relevance to actual performance.

Don’t try to track everything

Avoid data overload by focusing on a select few key metrics aligned with organisational KPIs. This targeted approach facilitates clear analysis and actionable insights, allowing for effective improvements over time.

By following these guidelines, organisations can establish objectives that are aligned with strategic goals, responsive to stakeholder needs, and grounded in actionable data insights for continuous improvement and growth.

What to track

When tracking the success of digital products in pharma and healthcare, integrating both qualitative and quantitative measurement methods is crucial.

Qualitative insights add depth and context to quantitative data, enhancing understanding of user behaviour. Meanwhile, quantitative data validates qualitative findings, offering statistical evidence of trends and impacts.

By leveraging both methods, organisations can effectively optimise user experiences and drive meaningful outcomes in patient care and engagement.

Quantitative measurement

  • Usage metrics: Quantify metrics such as number of users, sessions, time spent on platform, and frequency of interactions. These provide concrete data on platform adoption and engagement levels.

  • Conversion rates: Measure conversion metrics like click-through rates, sign-ups for webinars, or downloads of resources. These metrics indicate how effectively the digital product converts engagement into desired actions.

  • Performance analytics: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as ROI, cost per acquisition (CPA), or revenue generated. These metrics assess the financial impact and efficiency of the digital product.

  • Survey data: Conduct quantitative surveys to gather structured feedback on user satisfaction, usability, and perceived value. Use rating scales and closed-ended questions to quantify responses.

  • Behavioural data analysis: Analyse behavioural data from digital platforms to understand usage patterns, navigation paths, and content preferences. Quantitative analysis helps identify trends and patterns in user behaviour.

Qualitative measurement

  • User feedback and interviews: Gather qualitative insights through interviews, focus groups, or open-ended surveys. Qualitative methods capture detailed feedback on user experiences, pain points, and suggestions for improvement.

  • Sentiment analysis: Analyse qualitative data from text-based sources such as reviews, comments, or social media posts. This reveals sentiment, emotions, and qualitative insights into user perceptions.

  • Usability testing: Conduct qualitative usability testing sessions to observe how users interact with the digital product. Qualitative feedback from usability tests uncovers usability issues, user frustrations, and areas for enhancement.

  • Case studies and success stories: Gather qualitative evidence through case studies or success stories that highlight specific instances of how the digital product made a positive impact on user experience.

  • Expert evaluation: Engage domain experts or key opinion leaders to provide qualitative assessments of the digital product's alignment with industry standards, clinical relevance, and potential impact on healthcare outcomes.

Measuring the success of digital health and pharma solutions: Example use cases

New design system for a global pharma organisation

We work with clients to create design systems — a living library of reusable visual styles, principles, and components that can be applied consistently across digital platforms, encapsulating business, customer and regulatory requirements, as well as accessibility and UX best practices.

When measuring the success of a design system, there are various metrics we look at to determine whether it’s been successful from a business, product and user perspective. For example:

  • Business success: Impact on website launch timelines; cost-savings for site builds and localisations

  • User success: User feedback score; qualitative feedback from internal stakeholders; user feedback quotes; action/journey completion

  • Product/deployment success: Component usage statistics; number of components delivered; documentation engagement time

Patient support website for those living with cancer

When creating a digital patient support tool or programme, there may not be a specific commercial aim. The objective may be to reassure and inform both patients and their caregivers about what to expect from their cancer treatment and journey. 

When measuring success, we may consider metrics such as:

  • Website analytics: Time on site and return visits (engagement), page views and interactions, journey analysis, content sharing

  • User feedback: Social listening and sentiment analysis, quantitative survey feedback (e.g. intercept), quotes from user research (e.g. interviews and usability testing)

Our recommended approach

The following steps outline our approach to collaboratively define objectives, build a robust measurement framework, and foster continuous improvement. Tailored to each individual client, we leverage strategic insights and transparent communication to align with organisational objectives, ensuring long-term growth.

  1. 1 Purpose: Begin by aligning on the purpose of your digital initiative. Clearly define the overarching goal and the specific problems you aim to solve. This purpose will guide all subsequent steps and ensure that the initiative remains focused on delivering meaningful outcomes.
  2. 2 Objectives: Based on the defined purpose and stakeholder input, determine the key business and customer goals. These objectives should address both organisational needs and the needs of healthcare providers and patients. Ensure these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  3. 3 KPIs: Decide on a handful of meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives. These KPIs should be closely tied to your business goals and customer needs, providing clear metrics to measure success. Avoid trying to track everything; focus on the most critical indicators.
  4. 4 Set-up: Ensure the practical set-up of platforms and reporting systems to access and monitor the necessary data. Implement tools and systems that can effectively track your chosen KPIs, ensuring data is collected accurately and consistently.
  5. 5 Process for monitoring: Establish a clear process and roles for ongoing monitoring, including regular collection, tracking, and reviewing of data to ensure continuous assessment of performance against the KPIs.
  6. 6 Analyse and assess: Regularly review and analyse the collected data to draw meaningful conclusions, tracking hypotheses and learnings. Use this analysis to understand progress against objectives, identifying any trends, successes, and areas for improvement.
  7. 7 Evolve: Maintain an interactive process, using insights from measurement to refine strategies, ensuring alignment with objectives and reactivity to evolving user needs. Enable flexibility in adjusting objectives as needed to effectively adapt to changes in the industry landscape over time.

Continuous and supporting activities

To make sure that new measurement frameworks enable long-term change and success, there are a few final things to consider.

Engage all relevant stakeholders early in the process, using a workshop format as an efficient and effective way to collectively work through the outlined stages of this process.. This approach ensures comprehensive input and alignment from key stakeholders, fostering productive decision-making and buy-in from the outset.

Secondly, make sure to share insights internally to keep people informed and engaged. Present data in an engaging, accessible and actionable format, using it to tell a compelling story about the progress being made.

Last, but by no means least, always keep your audience front of mind. User insights should drive the definition of the strategic framework to ensure the optimal path forward. This depends on leveraging existing analytics, market research, and user insights, or conducting a discovery phase to validate audience understanding.

New to Graphite?

We are a dedicated health and pharma customer experience agency, creating digital solutions that result in a positive, measurable impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

If you’re looking for a specialist partner to support you in implementing measurement frameworks and creating digital products and services that resonate with your audiences, let's speak. 

Get in touch

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