When you approach someone, it is critical that you show your genuine interest in getting to know them
As patients increasingly drive their own medical care, the value of direct, two-way conversation between biopharma and patients also increases. When executed with a genuine intent to understand the experience and needs of patients and caregivers, honest and transparent engagement is an excellent means of gaining:
Understanding of how your company and your product are perceived
Insight into unmet needs
Clarity in opportunities that exist to improve adherence
Relationships in which you can advocate for patients, and patients can support your endeavors
However, before you rush off to Facebook to “poke” every person that notes the disease state of your therapy in their posts, there are a few things to consider. That said, here are five tips that will lead to success in patient cold calls.
Most of our medical science comes from people with rare diseases
Rare disease research is on the rise, and that’s good news for the 25 million rare disorder patients in the U.S. In fact, it’s good news for all of us, because the insights that we gain from this research can lead to pharmaceutical innovations that extend beyond the rare sphere, affecting the medical industry as a whole. By focusing on a few rare patients, we have the potential to change the lives of many.
Since the Orphan Drug Act was passed in 1983, the number of rare disorder treatments that are available has been steadily increasing every year. In addition to increasing awareness of the rare disease community, this high level of activity has led to pharmaceutical discoveries and advancements in the treatment of other more common diseases.
A Broad Impact on Health Care
There are numerous examples that illustrate the influence rare disease research has on health care. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a rare lung disorder that affects less than 100,000 people in the U.S. However, as scientists learned more about AATD, it was discovered that the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein could potentially be used to treat Type 1 diabetes, a disease that affects tens of millions of people worldwide. The FDA has since granted regulatory clearance for the protein to be evaluated in clinical trials.
I was invited to speak to the Chicago chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association to provide an introduction to how biotech and pharmaceutical companies are utilizing social media. Below is a copy of the presentation I’ll give tomorrow evening. The presentation details why companies should care about social media including the cautionary tale of KV Pharmaceutical, and examples of how biopharma are using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and online social networks. The deck closes with a summary of best practices.
health professionals are still the first choice for go-to information about health concerns
If information is power, then the internet has enabled a huge power shift in medicine. Fifteen years ago, if you wanted information about a health concern, you had to go to a doctor. Physicians had all the information and all the power.
With the advent of the internet, the average person gained easy access to health information, including medical journals. It’s important to remember we don’t have the medical expertise or scientific training to interpret much of the information, but we do have access, which provides the opportunity to ask questions. With the rise of social media, we gained access to another powerful source of health information: other people who were experiencing the same issues. For rare disease patients, who will probably never meet another patient in real life with the same rare disease, this was a seismic shift.
The video below is a great example of how biotech and pharmaceutical companies are supporting Rare Disease Day. The Dutch Rare Disease Day was celebrated on May 15 and Genzyme planned a flash mob ending for the event in Amsterdam. They arranged a top choreographer, professional dancers, and contestants of ‘The Voice of Holland’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ to prepare a sensational show. Enjoy!