With the official turn of the calendar to the third quarter (!), it's that time of year when pharma companies are planning for next year. But a look forward often requires a look backward: One key step in planning for next year is to assess how well your programs and tactics are doing this year.
So how well are you really doing? What do you use to assess it?
Chances are just about everyone is using readily available performance numbers: coupon, voucher and trial offer redemptions, web site traffic, page views, database registrations, clicks, click-throughs, et al. These at least give you some measure of program or tactical vitality. But is that enough? If you're settling for this, you are undoubtedly short changing your ability to get the full picture.
Few would argue the ultimate measure of performance is how your efforts are working to drive prescriptions. The use of Patient Longitudinal Data (PLD) --where patient prescription history is reviewed over a specific time period -- has become a standard to measure the real impact of tactics and programs on pharma product sales. PLD can take your patient database and statistically match it against prescription behavior. The data can divulge critical insights into the past and current prescription behavior of your patients. For example, you can see what brands your patients are switching to or from, if prescriptions are new or just restarts, or whether the patient is using your drug with other therapies.
Using PLD is HIPAA- and privacy- compliant, because measurement partners such as Crossix match the marketing database against de-identified pharmacy prescription data. In other words, for example, you won’t know that “John Smith” switched from a competitor’s product to yours. But you WILL know the overall conversion rate of the database, in the form of a percentage. And that knowledge can be incredibly powerful when determining when to spend your time and efforts in the future.
Using PLD to Your Advantage
PLD is a valuable tool in measuring several types of tactics, no matter what the channel. You can look at individual patient acquisition tactics and assess what is most effective. With proper planning, you can precisely identify exactly what's working and what isn’t. For example, is it the e-mail campaign, search, print, TV or other that is driving new prescriptions? Moreover, the often-elusive precise ROI can be discerned by looking at the cost per prescription, taking account of the total patient prescription value divided by the cost of the program.
Use of PLD can be eye-opening when it comes to real measurement of overall conversion. It is not uncommon to assess conversion just by looking at coupon or offer redemptions. But this only gives you part of the picture. There may be patients who are in your program, who don't redeem a coupon or an offer but have converted to your drug. These patients make up what is often called the program "halo"--- patients influenced by your materials but not using your offer or coupon. This halo is often twice the number of patients who might be redeeming offers -- particularly if your patient base is skewed to older males -- who are notoriously apathetic when it comes to offer redemptions.
The impact of using PLD can start with conversion, but there’s much more it can be used for. Often the “holy grail” of pharma patient marketing programs is adherence. Can we really tell if our adherence programs are working for program patients vs. those that may be on the medication but not in our program? Yes! PLD allows you to take your adherence program group and match a similar group of patients (matching Rx and demographic characteristics). Comparing the groups of patients in and out of the program assesses the incremental impact of the adherence program. You can see if the program actually drives more patient Rx’s.
In real world terms, what can the deployment of PLD mean? It can be game-changing for both the client and agency partners. Consider this story for a client marketing an Rx health product:
• The PLD conversion data showed a halo over coupon redemption of 2x.
• The offer redemption data that appeared at 5% was actually 15% as a total measure of conversion.
• But the adherence data was what was really astonishing: the marketing program produced 77 incremental days of therapy for patients in the program over those not in the program. This was over two and a half times the goal of 30 days (one Rx)!
• The subsequent impact on the marketing plan was huge, as the client/agency team could clearly see where to invest more in program acquisition and adherence initiatives.
• The investments made by the client paid back handsomely as overall program participants rose dramatically and adherence rates soared.
How To Make it Work for You
Crucial to making PLD work is to choose the right PLD-supplying partner. This can have an enormous impact on data accuracy, speed and cost. At Intouch, we prefer to work with Crossix. Crossix has proprietary technology specifically built for measuring consumer Rx behavior. They have shown that their data is more accurate. And it’s quick: most reports can be developed within weeks once data is compiled and formatted. They also have the experience to suggest time frames to insure useful and accurate reporting. Best of all, their services are cost-effective to purchase. Nevermind the long-term benefit of optimizing your programs to spend your budget in the best ways possible.
Finally, be aware that PLD is not a one-stop panacea for overall results. It doesn't replace many performance measures that still need to be assessed. But along with other measures, PLD can help point the way to changes that lead to more efficient and effective patient marketing.
In the end, PLD gives all of us the opportunity to serve up the real truth when it comes to program measurement.