The consumer’s changing nature

Putting patient experience first

Globally, consumerism in healthcare is growing at different cadences and for different reasons. In some countries, especially in developing markets, the drivers are increased cost-sharing and the desire for a better overall experience. In others, the demand for greater access to care and better outcomes is fuelling the trend.


Choose the data cure for customer experience. Create different strategies to revamp the customer experience by using or becoming data hubs or aggregators, commercializing your own insights, and pursuing direct data partnerships. Data hubs can be created by aggregating data from wearables, electronic health records, and monitoring and screening data so that the information can be shared across care and support settings. Data aggregators can house data sets from multiple sources and provide de-identified data sets that can offer insights for healthcare stakeholders while sidestepping grassroots collection. To commercialize insights, invest in proprietary data and tools to generate them, and sell them to other industry players, such as insurers with strong analytic abilities that are diversifying into nonregulated lines of business.

Make customer experience second nature for staff. The appropriate tools and training can reduce the time employees spend looking for and reviewing data, giving them more time for meaningful interactions with consumers. Invest in digital platforms and automation, such as a patient education system, to help patients be more active in their care and reduce the burden on nurses. Also invest in systems with protocols to promote information-sharing between physicians and patients.

Unwire the experience. Give consumers what they value, through convenient locations and hours, the chance to see a provider quickly and the choice of low-cost care options. Digital technologies such as telemedicine, Wi-Fi-enabled scales, mobile health apps for chronic disease monitoring, and wireless biometric sensors mean that the care experience is no longer tied to the physician’s office. Select digital solutions to complement—not replace—human interaction.

Call to action for policymakers and regulators

Make consumer-centered care the new norm. Recognise its financial and population health benefits, and develop policies that give priority to the consumer. Encourage organisations to participate by creating new initiatives based on the five pillars of customer experience, reimburse for those services, and rate healthcare providers and payers on those features.

Transforming the next generation of clinical trials

To recruit and retain clinical trial participants, companies are adopting digital tools and patient-centric approaches. Patients consider the potential risks and benefits, the study’s purpose and the research centre’s location to be the most important factors influencing their decision to participate, according to the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation. Mobile apps and telemedicine are letting patients participate in clinical trials outside of traditional trial sites, making trials more convenient and accessible.


Build solutions for more efficient trials. Traditional healthcare companies, nonprofits and new entrants bring unique capabilities to accelerate patient recruitment, analyse data and increase access to new therapies. Organisations that have identified bottlenecks in the trial process can partner with technology and other third-party vendors to create an ecosystem that eliminates inefficiencies. Such a best-of-breed approach to trial recruitment will include ways to improve awareness of and education about available clinical trials globally.

Strategically select digital platforms to fully integrate experimental and real-world evidence. These digital platforms can be used in conjunction with acute data point collection in a traditional clinical setting to leverage holistic patient insights not normally seen in classical models. “That is really the next step for successfully integrating digital solutions into our industry,” said Mohammed Ali, global head of digital trials and global clinical operations at Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., in a conversation with HRI.

Create an intelligent data environment. Strong data integrity is crucial in both traditional and virtual trial formats. Trial sponsors should review their data and analytics capabilities to decide if investing in the capabilities of, or partnering with, a data or technology provider will most effectively create enterprise capability to support clinical trials across different R&D programs and therapeutic areas. Drugmakers should also use real-world evidence to support regulatory submissions, for additional drug indications, and to inform new drug development.

Call to action for policymakers and regulators

Promote and reward early engagement. Twenty-four percent of large pharmaceutical and 25 percent of all pharmaceutical and life sciences leaders whom HRI surveyed reported regulatory uncertainty as the largest barrier to their organisation conducting remote clinical trials. Regulators should work with companies that communicate early about their intended trial designs, protocols and digital collection strategies to ensure data integrity and successful trial execution. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is collaborating with companies to test electronic patient-reported outcomes in oncology.


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Ron Chopoorian

Ron Chopoorian

Global Health Industries Leader, Partner, PwC United States

Sujay Shetty

Sujay Shetty

Global Health Industries Advisory Leader, Partner, PwC India

Tel: +91 9867700030