Last week we attended Merck’s Tech Innovation Summit in New Jersey which brought together over 3,000 technologists, innovators and professionals from across all cross-functional groups at Merck plus technology exhibitor’s like Ayogo.
One of this year’s topics focused on Innovation and how to drive innovative thinking around how technology can help improve healthcare as we know it. Paul Prescod, CPO and Founder of Ayogo was one of the featured speakers who addressed the audience of pharmaceutical professionals on the topic “Molecules are not enough: proven techniques to engage patients for better outcomes.”
Ok, onto a recap of what we learned! Paul focused on why many pharma mHealth applications fail and what companies like Merck can do to design applications for success. Here are the three biggest lessons pharma can learn about patient engagement and mHealth applications from Paul’s talk:
1. Pharma has an opportunity to “connect the dots” for physicians and patients.
Engagement is critical to bringing patients and physicians together, and pharma can help to “connect the dots” in three critical ways: 1) Better disease prevention, by giving patients the tools alongside therapeutic treatments to self-monitor and change behavior; 2) Greater success in treatment, thanks to greater compliance with lifestyle changes and therapy; and 3) Superior clinical decision making, as a result of the patient sharing more information with the clinician.
Pharma can use its expertise to enable a more holistic digital solution that would have greater success in engaging patients and connecting them with their physicians.
2. A Patient Engagement Platform is the solution that solves pharma’s key challenges related to adherence and consumerization.
We’re not talking symptom tracking alone. A patient engagement platform takes a holistic approach to help drive patient engagement to improve care for patients, result in better clinical outcomes lower total cost of care. In addition, Paul discussed how a holistic patient engagement platform like Ayogo’s Empower platform would provide value to several stakeholders: patients, providers, and payers with the pharmaceutical company at the center of the platform offering.
3. A successful Patient Engagement Platform has 3 key components:
a. Gamification: Think of a game as an economy, with inputs (effort, time, information), industry (the mechanics of playing), and outputs (emotional satisfaction, physical prowess, social status). Points are like the currency of that economy. They’re only meaningful to the participant insofar as they represent value created in your game’s economy. If they don’t represent some value to the participant, then they’re, well, pointless. Gamification, or as we prefer to say— Playful Design, therefore, is not about layering points and badges on top of your program to reward participation. It is about using the behavioral psychology of play to help the patient make a psychological/emotional commitment to the program itself.
b. Social Support: Studies of social game technologies as far back as 2010 show the power of the incoming message from a peer or loved one. People who received incoming challenges and messages of encouragement were three times more likely to complete a healthy action than people who did not receive those messages. The key to behavior change is incorporating this design principle into a holistic patient engagement platform.
c. Rituals and Habit Building: Focusing the patient’s attention on repeatable, actionable tasks for a period of time, is the basis of healthy habit formation. Ayogo’s Empower platform centers around a goal-oriented action list that is completed by patients throughout the day. The list is smart—changing status, based on either self-reported behaviors or wirelessly-logged data. As each behavior is completed, the user swipes away the items one by one using the touchscreen or mouse. Once their list is cleared, this small success is celebrated with fireworks and encouraging messages, reinforcing a sense of completion and raising satisfaction. Through daily repetition, these rituals become the foundation of new habits for diet, exercise, and self-care.
Interested in learning how you can implement an IT-enabled patient engagement platform at your pharmaceutical organization? Let’s talk!