Blog / There’s nothing “virtual” about remote patient engagement.

There’s nothing “virtual” about remote patient engagement.

Jean McCoy  -  8/05/2020

Five months into COVID-19, it doesn’t seem likely that life is going back to normal anytime soon. Marketers in all industries, including pharma, need to quickly activate —and embrace—new approaches to reaching customers.

But here’s something that has been bugging me: why are so many people talking about switching to “virtual?”

I mean, I kind of get it. Virtual reality has been a thing since it first appeared in 1960’s science fiction and it’s gained traction in video entertainment over the last decade. But at some point, we started using the term “virtual” to describe an event where people aren’t sharing the same physical space.

Let’s be clear though: “virtual reality” refers to a simulated experience and when it comes to our current circumstances, there’s nothing simulated about engaging with others remotely.

Whether it’s happening through a video conference or shared messages on social media, remote engagement is every bit as real as what takes place elsewhere. That said, it is different and, thus, requires a focused strategy and thoughtful deployment.

We recently hosted a workshop on this topic, where we were joined by a group of biopharma leaders with backgrounds in patient experience, brand management, digital strategy, and more.

Our workshop content was based on findings from recent surveys we conducted with over 1,000 members of our Health Stories Project community – real patients and caregivers encompassing a diverse cross section of age, race/ethnicity, gender and time since diagnosis. Our goal was to understand how the pandemic is impacting those living with chronic conditions and develop solutions to meet both their immediate and long-term needs.

Our findings led us to focus on two key areas of remote engagement: digital storytelling and participatory engagement.

Let’s start with digital storytelling. We all know large-scale video shoots are no longer viable. So how do you safely capture engaging, high-quality, compliant patient stories? We have a toolbox of proven solutions, including:

· Patient Video Kits

· Video Conference Platforms

· User Generated Content App

· Low Footprint Video Production

Each of these methods offers different advantages in terms of speed, cost, and production values, but all are effective for specific applications ranging from social media content, website content, sales training, and employee engagement.

To give you an idea of the kind of content we can produce with a crew of just a few socially-distanced people, check out the video below:

Providing health consumers with fresh video content is a key engagement strategy in our current environment, but if you want to take things a step further, consider participatory engagement.

When it comes to connecting patients directly with one another, three programs stand above the rest:

· Remote Patient Education Events

· Social Media Events

· Peer Mentor Programs

We have been facilitating peer mentor programs for 13 years. In our experience, they are by far the most requested and valued support programs pharma can offer.

The concept is simple: connect people who have taken a product or are living with a disease state who are willing to share their own personal experiences with those seeking information and support. Both parties benefit from the connection and meaning that goes along with the experience.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what we covered in the workshop, but the biggest thing to understand is that remote patient engagement is an investment that will help health care companies succeed during the pandemic and beyond.

Message me if you’d like to view the workshop video recording – better yet, let’s schedule some time to talk about the right remote patient engagement strategy to support your unique goals.

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