New products gets one shot with the physician — this is the problem and the solution

Often your new product gets only one shot with the physician — either you are in or you are out. Are you in, you can move physician up the adoption ladder heading for success….but how do you ensure success?

The science and the sales reps ability to detail it, is generally perceived to be what makes or break it for the new product entering the market. However, I believe there is ONE determining Moment Of Truth (MOT), which is often forgotten and which greatly influences the HCPs conclusion about a certain product and his likelihood to ever prescribe the product again. This MOT is connected to the patient feedback and the dialogue taking place during the first consultation after the patient has tried the product and returns to the HCP. I believe there a solution right in front of us.

Looking at the following factors, which determine the HCPs likelihood to initiate or switch a patient to a drug he has never prescribed before, I fully acknowledge that the sales reps cover most bases:

  • How well the GP knows the product
  • How comfortable he is introducing the drug to the patient
  • Will he be a success in front of the patient (self-image)
  • How well the patient understands the HCP’s instructions
  • How well the patient remembers and executes HCP instructions at home

Patient Reported Outcome = Moment Of Truth

While the above factors are important for the initial product buy-in of the HCP, a different event will determine if it leads to repeat and additional prescriptions and if a HCP successfully is moved up the adoption ladder. Unfortunately, pharma has little impact on this event today. I am talking about the follow-up consultation, where the patient, after being home on the product for some months comes back to the HCP with the verdict: Thumbs up or thumbs down? It is this conversation and patient reported outcome (emotionally and physically), which determine if the HCP perceives the product and himself a success, having tried something new and “risky” as opposed staying on older/classic products.

The problem for pharma today is that they have limited impact on the patient reported outcome beyond the science. The first period on the product the patient is alone with the product, remembering only parts of what the doctor explained, feeling emotional and experiencing physical changes, having to administer and titrate alone, forgetting to medicate as prescribed, etc. All these factors determine the patient experience and reported outcome expressed at the first consultation after treatment initiation. Several of which are not related to the pharmacological solution itself but has to do with the patient’s ability to remember, understand and execute instructions.

Dialogue and Education tool can impact Moment Of Truth

Clearly, many different factors influence a HCP´s decision to continue or discontinue treatment with a new drug, however I believe pharma has a great opportunity to influence the Moment of Truth and thus the likely hood of continued and additional prescriptions. Recent research suggests, that patient support services is greatly and increasingly appreciated by HCP´s and I believe such services, created and executed well, have the ability to impact initial Patient Reported Outcome (iPRO).

Recent experience with iPad based dialogue tools suggests, that such a tool could work very well in this case and be promoted along with the product by sales reps. The core concept and value proposition of the iPad tool would be to improve product experience by delivering value in 3 key areas:

1. HCP education: Train the HCP in the product (treatment guidelines, patient profile, etc.)

2. Facilitate an educational dialogue between patient and HCP at first prescription (disease, treatment, product, administration/titration, expectations, etc.)

3. Deliver patient support elements during home stay addressing the most common topics, which often lead to a negative product experience and thereby impact iPRO.

I firmly believe such a simple and straightforward solution to a very business critical problem, is something every brand manager should consider. The combination of high quality and structured education of the HCP and Patient as well as patient support material at hand during home stay can impact the experience and conversation, which will determine the future of your new product.

Read the case about the Eli Lilly HCP-Patient Dialogue tool here: