Diagnostic Channel to Prescribers in Precision Medicine
Written by Catarina Viega, Susanne Munksted and Peter Keeling
An explosion of articles is underway promoting the benefits of digitally enabled omnichannel marketing in healthcare, and in particular its importance to the evolving pharma commercial model. The theoretical, yet logical assumptions, are that by replacing legacy and traditional marketing approaches used to promote a new treatment – currently costing upwards of $100m per drug launch - a more efficient digital omnichannel palette will provide one or more of the following benefits:
- Measurable ways to track the performance of various strategies and channels,
- Actionable data for boosting the performance of strategies, such as an ad campaign,
- Cost-effective avenues for earning leads as well as sales,
- Low cost of entry for unveiling a strategy or channel, and
- Perceptive user data to improve targeting and promotional efforts[i].
It is widely recognised that data lies at the heart of the omnichannel and digital marketing promise since, used well, it will eliminate wasted effort from mass marketing approaches and target messaging to the right place at the right time. Recommendations abound from those supporting industry as they switch on digital marketing, with regards to what data is required and where it needs to be integrated into the commercial model. Some indeed, like McKinsey are cautioning the need first for a data transformation within commercial models, as without better data omnichannel marketing is hobbled[ii].
Despite all of the above well-intended process improvements, there remains a scarcity of published evidence on the impact of this digital/omnichannel revolution. This is a pity, since to prove impact to a pharma industry (adept at building evidence through side-by-side trials at the R&D stage), communications and commercialization agencies should be eager to publish side-by-side comparisons of legacy vs. digital.
Where that evidence of impact has been published, the following metrics hint at the transformation which digital/omnichannel marketing can have in support of treatment uptake. Early indications are that leaders who have adopted advanced analytics along with an omnichannel approach for the commercial model enjoy:
- 5-15% revenue growth, driven by increases in prescribers and in total/new prescriptions per prescriber,
- 10-40% better market efficiencies & cost savings, with faster time-to-market and greater promotional cost savings, and
- 5-10% higher satisfaction amongst HCPs[iii].
Harnessing the power of the diagnostic channel
At Diaceutics, our focus has been on deploying those parts of the omnichannel commercialization model pertaining specifically to the diagnostic pathway. This includes the interface between labs and prescribers, patient referral processes, patient engagement, staging of disease and of course rich diagnostic data flows. The contribution each of these capabilities is discussed below.
DATA: What data underpins the diagnostic channel? Patient testing data, sourced from labs and then amalgamated via machine learning with claims and epidemiology data, bring direct support for prescribers at precisely the moment when a prescribing decision is being made. For example, knowing a patient’s biomarker status, alongside their diagnostic history, can help a doctor choose drug A instead of drug B. Further, if that information can be delivered to a prescriber within the preferred treatment window of only a few days, that same data transitions into potentially the most valuable data available to support omnichannel marketing.
LAB NETWORK: Why are labs an underutilized resource guiding physicians in making informed (data-driven) treatment decisions for individual patient care? In precision medicine, the lab has a newfound importance in digital omnichannel outreach. Prescribers, particularly in the US, often have a choice of between 3-7 lab partners, and will choose a lab based on their confidence in the result and the service level provided. Once that trust is established, prescribers seldom migrate from their preferred lab partner. As a result, the interface between labs and physicians is the most frequently used two-way channel compared to any other part of the healthcare system, with every lab connecting with their prescriber customers on average across ~4 transactions every day.
Case example: How do testing data and the Lab Network integrate?
A testing network and its interconnectedness can be illustrated in the below universe graphic which shows the volume of testing centred in a single lab (represented by the grey circles - the larger the circle the more NSCLC testing that lab performed) serving their physician relationships (represented in the black dots). Lines between labs represent the referral of samples from one lab to another based on expertise. This example below depicts the testing ecosystem which covered 72,000 new NSCLC patients who presented in 2021 in the US. We can evidence that to support these patients, only 455 labs provided NSCLC testing services to over 17,000 physicians. By further supporting those 455 labs in their communication to physicians, we observed a vibrant communication highway which can be harnessed to provide physician prescriber education and augment traditional rep-Dr interactions.
What outcomes arise from harnessing the diagnostic pathway?
DXRX – The Diagnostic Network® case study
To unlock the power of these dynamics, our digital platform DXRX has sought to dually integrate patient testing data alongside an influencer-led global laboratory network sited juxtaposed the physicians they serve. Diaceutics data reservoir today contains labelled and standardized testing data on almost 100 diseases being targeted within precision medicine. Furthermore, it is refreshed with real-time data daily from 1500 labs within the DXRX Network. Ultimately, by integrating real-time lab data alongside an active lab-physician communication network, we can observe the outcome and ROI from specific DXRX platform-enabled interventions. These results underpin the published performance metrics being witnessed from digital marketing as illustrated by the following metrics.
- Using our Physician and Lab Engage Solutions, we deployed a data-rich “just-in-time” email communication simultaneously to labs and ~800 physicians servicing a particular patient cohort and observed a 22% engagement rate and 50% increase in appropriate test use within two weeks for those engaged physicians.
- Using our DXRX Signal Solution we supported the timely communication to prescribers in a specific speciality that some 290 of their patients per week had received appropriate testing, of which approximately 10% were now treatment eligible. Historically, most of these additional 10% of patients would not have received the optimal therapy.
- More universally we observe that the cost of driving the above levels of impact occurs whilst eliminating between 33%-50% of traditional marketing costs.
However, more than showing individual interventions, of critical importance to omnichannel marketing is being able to sustain and scale any radical improvements in promotion. We have addressed this challenge at Diaceutics via our DXRX platform by automating data flows and rapidly deploying engagement across an already installed and ready to go 1500-strong lab network base. Since January 2023 alone, our data has identified just under 50,000 eligible patients where action has been oriented to support better treatment decisions. This is truly a system-level improvement.
As the precision medicine world shifts from recognizing the significant real-world patient leakage evidenced in the clinical Practice Gaps[iv] towards the deployment of actions to address patients lost to treatment, we believe digital marketing via the diagnostic pathway are natural partners. To that end, we have developed DXRX into a full suite of data-driven lab and physician engagement tools which we can deploy across our growing Lab Network. Via the platform KPIs, we are evidencing how we can deliver measurable, scalable, and rapid action, contributing a significant boost to omnichannel marketing with a superior ROI.
In time agencies will no doubt publish more real-world evidence of digital and omnichannel marketing delivering cost effective just-in-time market education. Today, we believe using a platform to harness the diagnostic pathway has a significant contribution to make to the ongoing shift to digital commercialization currently underway across the pharmaceutical industry.
Please share if you have examples of data-driven digital marketing. Let’s collectively illustrate how we can triple the impact of marketing outreach at half the cost!
[i] Digital School of Marketing. How does digital marketing affect the growth of business? . https://digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za/digital-marketing-blog/how-does-digital-marketing-affect-the-growth-of-business/#:~:text=This%20marketing%20assists%20your%20business,leads%20as%20well%20as%20sales
[ii] Adam Broitman, Michelle Jimenez, and Julie Lowrie. Marketing in Healthcare: Improving the consumer experience. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare/our-insights/marketing-in-healthcare-improving-the-consumer-experience
[iv] Impact of Clinical Practice Gaps on the Implementation of Personalized Medicine in Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Helen Sadik, Daryl Pritchard, Derry-Mae Keeling, Frank Policht, Peter Riccelli, Gretta Stone, Kira Finkel, Jeff Schreier, and Susanne Munksted. JCO Precision Oncology 2022 :6
Pharmaceutical Marketing Society - https://pmsociety.org.uk/why-youre-wasting-money-with-digital-marketing-in-pharma/