The search volume of the term “Patient Experience” increased almost 550% in the past decade. Consultants, agencies, start ups and health care companies have been selling, exploring and adopting the concept, but what could be the ultimate goal?

Improving an experience just to improve it could be meaningless for all the ones involved on it or could be unsustainable if it is not driving better outcomes for all the participants.

Specifically in Health Care, pharmaceutical companies have to design a better experience for each treatment they offer. I am not talking about a better marketing experience in where the advertising, information distribution and fulfillment have to match customer expectations (that is customer experience and has to be improved as well…), but designing a better patient experience to improve the treatment’s efficacy, safety and convenience is what will make a real difference.

Patients need a better treatment’s experience to augment it’s efficacy

Nutritional, emotional and lifestyle factors are key components to stay and return to be healthy. Medical journals have been communicating the importance and co-relation of these factors to improve a patient’s health and now we can double click on them and make them actionable. The personalization of guidance, coaching and information to improve these factors, aligned to the goals achieved by the pharmaceutical treatment performance (of each and unique patient), could make difference on someone’s life. Imagine getting not only the guidance, or shopping list of groceries to buy, but based on the data of the past 3 days, a treatment companion plans, buys and delivers the food (prepared or ready to be cooked) at the moment when each patient needs it. If the patient buys groceries from Whole Foods, then it will send them from there every morning, or if the patient consumes Blue Apron, then the specific and required meals arrive without being requested… even more sophisticated, what if all the restaurants the patient visits display the best meals to improve the condition of the patient on that specific day…

Like this… also emotional and lifestyle factors should be configured to maximize the performance of the treatment… would this make the combo (treatment + companion) a best in class?

Patients need a better treatment’s experience to maximize safety

If comordbilities or adverse events can be minimized, avoid or managed better by advising the patient on the moment, how to do it these days? if a patient can be monitored 24 x 7 how to act at the right time and stop the patient to consume or act on a certain way to avoid or minimize new health issues. Tracking vital signs, context and behavior could be the key to personalize nutrition, lifestyle and emotional guidance not only to improve efficacy, but to manage safety closer. How my sleeping is impacting stress and how stress is impacting my digestive system and how my digestive system is developing a new medical condition faster due the combination of my behavior plus the treatment? what if by understanding this, the companion adjusts my context to avoid this risk? today our watch tell us when is the moment to breath or stand up… why not to do the same but to avoid or minimize adverse events? How to connect all these data so Medical Doctors can personalized dosage, treatment or delivery system? How to connect to care-givers so they can also take action at the moment and well informed?

Patients need a convenient experience

Length, frequency, form factor, portability and other elements of the treatment are key for the convenience of the patient. R&D and commercial teams analyze these elements before releasing or when creating new treatments or presentations, but how we can optimize convenience faster. New devices and form factors will help on this, but how to do it in real-time or offer more alternatives to patients. What are the variables I can (as a patient) modify to adapt to what is more convenient for me? If patients want to trade off some elements of their behavior for better convenience how can these work? There is a lot of innovation on this space and I believe here is where we will see more innovation in the short term.

This is a great example of the innovation on treatment convenience

There are multiple examples about each one of these 3 levels of patient experience and in the near future all of these elements will be embedded on new treatments. All big-pharma companies have been communicating isolated examples, but these are more patches to current treatments experiences than clinically proofed digital services that work as a supplement of a treatment and are targeting better efficacy, safety and convenience.

To design the treatments of the future, R&D of pharmaceutical companies will need to take their patient experience team to the next level so they can develop companions as seamless as the Disney’s Magic Band or Princess Cruise Ocean Medallion but with the big difference that treatment experiences of pharma will save lives and will make the world healthier.

As always, these are my ideas and don’t represent the ones of my employer. I shared my thoughts to learn more about the perspective of others so feel free to comment and share your opinion. Thank you!