Healthcare has undergone many changes in the 21st century. With the advent of Covid-19, it may now be poised for even more radical changes. In the 20th century, doctors were exclusively in the driver's seat. Like a taxi passenger, patients let the doctor take them to their destination. However, in recent years, that patient journey has shifted towards giving patients more of a voice in the path they take to manage their health. DTC Marketing offers patients information on how to address their healthcare needs.
The times are changing. Currently, DTC marketing is promoting greater patient involvement in medical discussions. And in many categories, this led to remarkable changes. Patients are learning more about their health and the right questions to ask doctors.
DTC Marketing on the Internet Provides Information
In most recent years, the internet has been a key source of information for patients. When you want to pick a new detergent, you can ask a friend. When you want to understand your health condition before going to the doctor, you go online. Understanding health treatment is not like picking a brand of soap.
After "Henry" (not his real name) was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer his first question was, "how long do I have to live?" The doctor did not answer and instead suggested that he needed to make an appointment as soon as possible. He was scared and wanted to learn more, as soon as possible. Going online, he was relieved to find that 80% of patients with his form of cancer were cured. He also learned about hid options for treatment. This empowered him in his discussions with doctors.
New Ways To Communicate With Doctors
DTC marketing empowers patients. Already, patients were seeing information about treatments through various channels including the Internet. Then COVID-19 struck. If things were already shifting, this crisis has put the change into superdrive. Telemedicine, which had been growing rapidly, became a standard of care for many patients (especially in the area of behavioral health) It was safe, convenient and gave patients in remote areas an opportunity to meet with specialists. In this period, the call volume to doctor's offices ballooned from 50,000 to 100,000 per day.
While this approach offered convenience, it left many gaps. With a lack of personal interaction, the doctor needed to rely on patient discussion and results from testing centers like Quest. More than ever, patients needed to research their conditions so that they could ask the right questions. New behaviors were being formed.
Impact of Patient Portals
Patient portals allow patients to review information from their tests and communicate directly with their doctors between visits. Lesley Kadlec, director of health information management practice excellence at the American Health Information Management Association indicates that patient involvement through portals is revolutionizing the way that HCPs interact with patients. She says that consumer engagement is "a high priority" for healthcare today, and one "likely to increase as health information technologies, like portals, continue to evolve."
These shifts lead us into a world where the balance between patients and doctors is more even. Doctors will always be in the driver's seat. However, the patient is no longer a passive passenger. The patient has moved from the back seat to the front passenger seat. The patient can interact with the doctor to make certain that they are getting to the right destination. The journey is improved.
An important implication for healthcare providers, insurance companies and Pharma companies is that they must provide access to the right information. This is both an opportunity and an obligation. By offering such information, these parties can help patients to properly discuss their condition with healthcare providers. They can also draw attention to new brands and improvements in patient care. This can lead to both improvement in patient care and also adoption of the latest therapies. In this way, everybody benefits.