What we learned post-COVID? That our clients and patients need digital patient support programs now more than ever

Written by Jasmine Malone on Wednesday 30th March 2022

Even before the global scramble to digitize healthcare and patient support due to COVID began, the use of digital tools in healthcare was on the rise. Increasingly in 2021, our clients and their HCP stakeholders started to see digital patient support programs (PSPs) in a new light. Providing digital solutions for patients was no longer considered a “nice to have”, but a key offering for all new product launches and for established brands. With the advent of the pandemic, however, it is the very real need for high-standard remote support that puts the digital PSP in the spotlight.

No small task

PSPs are not small endeavors. Financial investment aside, they also require a huge amount of interdisciplinary expertise and represent an organizational commitment to patients. From evidence-based design through digital build to creative execution, all the content is validated with patients at the center. This includes customization to the therapy area and specific patient unmet needs, informed by a vast amount of research, customer insights and wherever possible a co-creation method that helps us really hit the mark.

To succeed, a digital PSP doesn’t just require an expert agency partner with the right capabilities, but internal, multistakeholder buy-in is also necessary from our clients, as well as their own drive and long-term commitment to deliver.

The rewards — the proof is in the metrics 

So, imagine how it feels when, just as everything in the world seems uncertain and healthcare is at the very forefront of everyone’s minds as in the case of a pandemic, you start to notice that the programs that you and your clients have worked so hard together to deliver are having a significant and positive effect on patients’ and carers’ lives.

The use of our online PSPs (such as specialist websites and disease-monitoring apps) has more than doubled since the beginning of the first lockdown. The numbers are extraordinary: in 2021, online usage of one of our above-brand web apps was up by 500%, articles specific to COVID were accessed more, and engagement was through the roof. The message is clear — patients are not only using these programs, but they, and our clients, want more. This is the time when the PSP matters most — a time that we couldn’t have planned for, but one in which the quality of what we do stood up to the test and passed with flying colors.

Digital as scalable support intervention 

As we emerge from COVID, the healthcare system has changed; patients continue to operate in a more remote healthcare setting and increasingly rely on digital solutions to complement in-person healthcare.

Patients everywhere deserve to have access to the highest standard of content in their PSPs — not just content directly related to their treatment, but everything to do with their healthcare in a more digital landscape.

The OPEN Health patient engagement team has a heritage in digital patient support: we are proud of our track record in helping our clients create award-winning, essential tools for patients, their carers, and their healthcare teams, using innovation to help improve patients’ quality of life.

We pride ourselves on our patient communications expertise; if our patient-centric thinking has sparked your interest and you’d like to learn more, we’d love to hear from you!

Get in touch

Richard Jones - Managing Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes & Patient Engagement