In one of the last posts we described how the pharma business is evolving from transactional to patient centered and promised to describe the use of patient experience maps. In between we had been in a consultation on IT for Healthcare management by the Spanish senate and we signed a strategic agreement with the New Health Foundation, but here is the promised post.
The delay has been positive because in between we can enrich the former post with conclusions from the roadmap for pharmaceutical innovation just published by the Bankinter Foundation . It is an in depth document worth reading.
The conclusions are grouped around 5 major themes
- Cost reduction by using of biomarkers and Information technologies
- Business models for tomorrow
- Involve patients to access or create new markets
- Foster startups and work with them (open innovation and open enterprise model)
- Reduce development costs
It is very interesting that 3 of 5 future development themes are major bets of ValueCreation since the brands beginning: grow in an open model, pay great attention to business models and…our core identity sign: to create new business working closely with patients.
Here is where we link last post’s promise with our current theme: working closely with patients to create new commercial models is eased if we can co-create with them the patient experience map.
Patient experience maps
Patient experience maps are a very interesting tool similar to the customer experience maps of marketers, or the user journey maps of IT and web designers; many get inspiration on ethnographic tools to represent life stories or social networks. No wonder, because working with patient experience needs an ethnographic mind. Instead of explaining what they are, I would rather prefer to show how they are used by Novartis to increase sales.
I do not have the entire project’s information, since ValueCreation participated only subcontracted in an indirect small and local part of the initiative. You can read the full experience described by Novartis manager Debraj Dasgupta here . Yet, the challenge of Novartis was to have full information of the patient’s experience from first symptoms until the healing process ended. As you can see, when we think of drugs, we have the pharmacy in mind and the contact we have as customers with the company is on the sales point and during therapy (and of course exposed to advertising and branding).
But the patient experience with a drug is far more complex and intense. It touches physicians, hospitals, it has to do with our believes on pharma industry and the medical system…and also with our hidden and unspoken believes and fears about health and disease, life and death.
No shared understanding of the patient experience
To map the full patient experience is very important to visualize the connections between the stakeholders and het a feeling of difficulties patients’ experience. These difficulties and bottlenecks produce the problems when designing a sales strategy, because they are mainly invisible to the strategist. While drawing with a patient experience map you will be able to record information from many of the company’s unconnected silos and generate cross department collaborative teams. This is particularly important because the organization had no shared understanding of the patient’s experience.
How was it done
The current experience map was drawn together with patients and representatives of sales and marketing areas. In a second stage, the teams drawn the future patient experience map or the “to be” map. This was o major importance because the gaps between the real map and the ‘to be’ situation (as it happens in search conferences) identify clearly were the major frustrations of patients with the industry are.
The gaps also show the path for change, and also the values, competencies and roles sales teams need…but more, the whole business model can be questioned as the Bankinter Foundation conclusions show. Filling in the gaps between current and future patient experience we can redesign our business model and reinforce the sales organization with services and programs.
The main benefits according to the author consisted in the creation of cross department and cross country teams that acted globally, working together with patients at the sales planning process.
Different markets mean different maps, as well as the development of specific sales programs. By working with the real and the ideal map the gaps help to improve strategy and clearly produce a differentiation from competition: for instance an app to identify user problems in hospitals were Novartis drugs are administered and of course to solve them.
Learnings: from product centered to patient centered companies
For Debraj Dasgupta it was very important that the maps did not only involve marketing, but several areas of the company. Clearly of advantage was to work with the future map. The present map has value to discover the contact points between patients, products, services and equipment and draw a roadmap for improvement. As we see, innovation is not so much focused on product or service, but on sales organization and business model. For Mr. Dasgupta this may lead to a new wave of innovation that reshapes the companies from product to patient centered, whose value proposition is composed by product + solution.
Breaking the traditional CC-NP-RE cycle
In difficult times, traditionally companies go through the so called CC-NP-RE cycle: Cost Cutting-New Product (launches)-Restructuring. As argued in some other post, while being effective, after a company has undergone several cycles the marginal benefits tends to lower until not much more can be done.
Instead, if innovation is applied all over the value chain, as the Dolbin method shows, lots of innovation possibilities emerge.
As the Doblin approach shows, there are many places were to innovate in a company different than products. If we compare the Pharma Industry innovation curve, companies still move mostly at products, then at processes and almost nothing in distribution and sales; here is where patient involvement makes the difference.