Communicating value: supporting patient access to life-changing technologies

Written on Friday 25th September 2015

At OPEN Access Consulting we strongly believe that, in healthcare markets where costs continue to escalate, it has never been more important to communicate the value of your brand — it's the cornerstone of brand success. And communicating value is very rarely about simply relaying the facts you happen to have to hand however impressive the data might be.

How can you optimise your value communications? In this month’s issue of Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe, OPEN Access Consulting provides insights on communicating the value of healthcare technologies at both a global and local level, and, importantly, what this means for pharma.

We believe communications activities should focus on four key areas.

1. Proactive customer engagement

Understanding who your customer is, and what is important to them, is crucial for optimising patient access to new therapies. Too often, value communications are developed around readily available data rather than considering what customers need to inform their decision making. What are the pressures and challenges they face, both within the disease area and healthcare delivery remit? And what do they perceive as value?

Engaging with customers early and openly enables you to develop robust and credible communication strategies that support the value of your brand. Early customer engagement also supports product value by enabling early assessment of potential data gaps in your evidence generation programme.

2. Delivering impactful communications

Delivering impactful communications means communicating clear positioning for your product and demonstrating the value that it will provide the health economy. Communications should address the needs of a broad range of clinical and payer stakeholders, with consistent messaging based around your value proposition, and with appropriate emphasis according to your audience. For a national-level customer, communications should emphasise cost effectiveness or additional clinical benefit compared with standard of care, or national priority setting for the condition. At a local level, information on budget impact and anticipated implications for local service delivery will be given more emphasis.

3. Flexible value communications

Communications strategies developed at global level should take into account the similarities and differences between global healthcare systems. While consistent messaging across markets around the value of a product is important, individual countries will need some flexibility within the global communications strategy to address regional and local differences between markets. Global communications that emphasise where messages can be used across markets, and where local adaptation will be required, ensure consistent but flexible dissemination of your value story.

4. Internal communication

Lack of internal alignment and cross-functional collaboration within pharmaceutical companies can substantially impact successful market entry and limit ongoing patient access to medicines. For example, a technology’s license has a substantial influence on the clinical data reimbursement authorities require and will influence data analysis and cost-effectiveness and budget impact calculations. Early internal engagement between Market Access functions and Medical, Research & Development and Regulatory is important to highlight the impact that early clinical decision making has on market entry success, and to provide support around the trial endpoints and data that customers will want to evaluate at launch.

By considering the points above – identifying the customer, understanding their perception of value, and knowing the relevant communication channels – you can develop value stories that truly resonate, based on what health economies perceive as value, and value for money.

You can read our thoughts on optimising value communications here. Do get in touch on email for more information about developing and delivering compelling value stories. Check OPEN Access Consulting's website.