For decades, pharmaceutical brands have been empowering patients to take a proactive role in their health with a familiar refrain to “talk to your doctor.” Today’s patients-turned-customers have their own demands, and according to a recent Press Ganey study, almost 90 percent say they want drug manufacturers to help them find a doctor. Keep reading to find out how having an accurate doctor directory on your brand site can fill crucial gaps in the consumer’s path to treatment and maximize conversions.
Emphasis on digital
A patient’s digital healthcare journey begins the moment a consumer starts searching for a doctor–long before an in-office or virtual visit takes place. Biopharma manufacturers are responding to patients’ increasingly digital expectations. In 2020, pharmaceutical brands dedicated 66 percent of marketing budgets to digital advertising, with a 200 percent increase in consumer digital ad budgets compared to 2019. Overall digital ad spending for 2021 is estimated to top $11 billion.
Despite efforts to prioritize digital care solutions, the historic divide between consumer interest in virtual healthcare and actual offerings persists. How can pharma brands help close gaps in the digital patient journey and ultimately drive NRx?
Patients expect a retail healthcare experience
When it comes to picking a doctor, patients are 2.2x more reliant on digital resources than referrals from other physicians. A 2021 Press Ganey survey of 1,000+ healthcare consumers reveals that, on average, patients consult 2.7 different online sources and read 5.5 patient reviews over the course of their care-seeking journey. While search engines continue to be the most popular digital resource during a consumer’s doctor search, more patients are turning to healthcare sites like Healthgrades for patient reviews and objective, up-to-date information about healthcare professionals, their experience and specialties. Traffic on healthcare-specific sites has increased, reflecting rising consumer demands for integrated, accurate doctor directories.
Convenience continues to be a top priority for patients during their search for care, and the value of having a dynamic directory with information that helps patients on their path to treatment cannot be overstated. With more healthcare options than ever, consumer loyalty is up for grabs: 83 percent of surveyed healthcare consumers indicate that they would be more likely to use or recommend a pharmaceutical brand that helped them find a healthcare professional through a digital directory. This is important because 41.3 percent of patients identify finding the right doctor as the greatest obstacle they encounter on their path to treatment. Providing consumers with the option to conduct a detailed doctor search directly on your brand website can go a long way for your brand’s ability to educate and influence patients at the moment of truth–when they’re making an appointment.
What does this mean for your brand?
More than ¾ of consumers indicated they researched a prescription or medication online in 2020, and nearly half (46.5 percent) did so directly on a brand website, making it the second-most-popular resource for prescription knowledge. Patients are looking to manufacturers to help them complete their journey: 89.2 percent say it would be helpful if pharmaceutical brand sites offered a directory of healthcare professionals where consumers could discover and compare physician ratings and reviews. Between industry-wide changes and consumer demand for accessible, up-to-date healthcare information lies an incredible opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to turn their brand websites into patient conversion engines.
Make the most of your digital directory
The discrepancy between expressed interest in brand-provided physician directories and actual utilization of third-party sites means that there is a significant population of consumers that pharmaceutical brands must reach beyond their own site. With over 10 million patient reviews and search tools that allow patients to filter their physician search by specialists, conditions, and procedures, Healthgrades is the leading information hub for the modern healthcare consumer. Healthgrades PatientConnect editorial and video solutions engage qualified consumers in content that motivates treatment, and the Guided Physician Search (GPS) makes it easy for them to book an appointment when treatment is top of mind. Adding a Brand.com GPS to your Healthgrades program can bring that same ability to your own site and drive more doctor-patient discussions about your brand.
For additional insight, we spoke with a leader at Horizon Therapeutics to learn more about how Healthgrades GPS Tool has transformed their brand website into an information hub.
Libby Wlochowicz, Director of Consumer & Multi-Channel Marketing, Horizon Therapeutics: “I was incredibly impressed by your team’s ability to use our list of HCPs and build this into the Healthgrades doctor finder code in a week and a half. This was an incredibly fast pivot, and very much appreciated. Once we launched the site, it became clear within weeks how desperately our patient audience needed this Specialist Finder tool.”
Prepare for a patient-centric future
Including a robust, easy-to-access doctor directory on your brand site is a critical part of opening the front digital door. Partnering with Healthgrades can help your brand reach potential patients, reduce prescription leakage, and secure conversions.