How to Identify the Best Patient Engagement Company for Your Organization

October 4, 2017

Your organization needs ongoing patient engagement strategies and solutions, but what should you take on in-house and what should you outsource? Can your current agency achieve the results you need? What services and levels of expertise do you need to do it right?

Based on hundreds of patient conversations and client initiatives within the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, we’ve created this handy checklist to determine what sets an organization up for a successful patient engagement initiative.

Answer “Yes” to all of these, and you have yourself the perfect team.

Eight-Step Patient Engagement Team Checklist

1. Is their definition of patient engagement a complete definition?

We find that many organizations’ definition of patient engagement or patient experience is limited primarily to transactional market access processes, to include benefits verification, financial assistance, and nursing support when needed. These three areas are obviously necessary for patients, but they are often fragmented and confusing programs for patients to navigate, and are only a portion of the full patient journey. We define patient engagement as follows:

True patient engagement offers a comprehensive and streamlined experience for the patient through these five steps: 1) Awareness, 2) Acquisition, 3) Activation, 4) Adherence, 5) Advocacy. The goal is improved outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Success does not stop at acquisition or even initial activation. Different segments of patients need different levels of support throughout their treatment journey.

2. Are they experienced in and focused on only patient engagement strategies and solutions, with specific experience in pharmaceutical and medical device?

Some agencies and teams have other core strengths and their attention and experience is divided. Patient engagement is a specialized field that requires a thorough and tested methodology and industry understanding that continues to expand and improve with each initiative. Choose an expert in the space who can integrate with your other departments and initiatives, provide best practices and case studies, and complement your current people and technology resources.

3. Are they set up to capitalize on and maximize awareness and acquisition campaigns you may already have set up?

Coordinating with your teams and integrating with your established awareness and acquisition paths is the first step toward ensuring and supporting treatment activation. They should be set up to efficiently tie in to your current efforts.

4. Do they facilitate ONE patient journey path?

Your ideal patient engagement company will not only help patients through the transactional processes you have set up, but will also have a thorough process on how to guide and support them through activation, adherence and compliance, and advocacy. Mapping out a complete treatment journey is the best way to fully support patient outcomes and satisfaction and respond to the unexpected.

5. Do they have trained care managers or are they prepared to train your care managers in a proven care model methodology?

We’ve discovered that many organizations will rely on ill-equipped call centers or internal resources that don’t have the time or tools to fully support patients. It’s imperative that care managers understand how to build relationships through trust, hope, and empathy, and have the right tools to track communication. Appropriate training is imperative for each initiative.

6. Do they have a patient-engagement-specific workflow technology to manage patients, guide care managers, and track results?

To provide personalized support at scale, you need to leverage workflow software. The patient engagement software should enable care managers to care for patients more easily. They will quickly find answers for patients, better understand and follow strict compliance regulations, be alerted when it’s time to reach out, and more easily track patient progress.

What’s more, the software should provide data that helps you improve the program along the way.

7. Does their methodology include patient assessments, segmentation, care path personalization, and initiative improvement processes?

Doctor-patient conversations might be ideal, but to efficiently and effectively reach out and continually motivate thousands of patients who have different life situations, attitudes, and behaviors, you need a thorough process that considers many patient perspectives, customizes content for different mindsets, and dynamically tracks results over time.

8. Are they experienced and equipped in developing content for complex disease states?

When facing a new treatment, surgery, or pharmaceutical regimen, patients are often scared, in denial, or confused, which can lead them to do nothing. Your patient engagement team needs to have the ability to design and implement activation and adherence strategies and solutions that are specific to the health situation and various patient segments.

These days, patients need more than a doctor’s say-so to motivate them to adhere to a prescription or treatment path after surgery. They need ongoing encouragement, transactional support, and appropriate sources for education to reinforce their decisions and motivate them to continue on the right treatment path for them.

Need help determining what you can take on in-house and what you should outsource for the most streamlined end-to-end patient engagement strategy? We’d be happy to talk.