Patient-centric marketing in healthcare advertising

2024 Physician Survey: Untapped Opportunity in Healthcare Advertising

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Get the full results from our 2024 independent physician survey.

Download a copy of the white paper. 

Enhancing Patient Outcomes: Aligning HCP and DTC Strategies


Healthcare advertising targets patients. And healthcare advertising targets physicians. But for many pharma brands, these efforts are planned and executed separately – drawing on distinct data to build and engage unconnected audiences. 

It’s time for marketers to rethink that approach. Our 2024 independent physician survey explored the impact of HCP and DTC marketing silos on physician-patient conversations and brand conversion and uncovered a clear need for better synchronization. Here’s what we learned. 

Physicians Notice the Lack of Alignment – and It Impacts Care 

A whopping 70% of physicians agreed (or strongly agreed) that when the information patients bring to care visits aligns with the information they get from manufacturers, it streamlines patient care. But just 13% of those physicians see that strong alignment today.  

This lack of alignment means patients and physicians aren’t always on the same page during medical visits – with patients interested in treatments that aren’t the best fit and physicians frustrated at spending valuable minutes correcting inaccurate patient perceptions.  

Patient-Sourced Information Can Impact Treatment Choices – When It’s Relevant 

Despite the lack of alignment noted above, physicians do value and appreciate informed patients. In fact, 55% of survey respondents agreed that patient-sourced information is crucial to shared decision-making around care plans. What’s more, 45% of physicians indicated that patient-sourced information can cause them to consider a treatment they may not have otherwise.

But not all patient-sourced information is of equal value and relevance. A majority of physicians cited misleading/inaccurate sources, hearsay/anecdotes, or conflicting advice from friends and family as the top sources that all harm their conversations with patients. By contrast, just 12% of respondents believe pharma brand advertising has a similar negative effect. 

From their responses, we can start to see how the information patients bring to office visits influences the conversation, and why it’s so critical that patients have access to medically-vetted information that applies to their specific circumstances – especially where patients face social, economic, or cultural barriers that hinder their engagement with HCPs. 

How Synchronizing HCP and DTC Marketing Changes the Picture – And Why Patient Centricity Is the Key 

For every patient arriving to medical visits with relevant information, there’s a patient missing the chance for better collaboration with their HCP. And for every physician open to exploring a patient-requested medication, there is a physician primed to dismiss a request because they aren’t familiar with that treatment option. This is why synchronization matters – when HCPs and patients share a common belief about the best treatment path, they’re more likely to engage in productive, efficient care conversations. For life science brands, it means physicians are more likely to prescribe that therapy and patients are more likely to be adherent. 

Medications are not one-size-fits-all. The “best” treatment is defined based on the specific patient in question – not just their current clinical profile, but their medical history, insurance formulary, personal beliefs, and more. And without this alignment to the patient, marketing just becomes noise – and unlikely to translate to prescribing decisions or treatment compliance.  

An aligned, patient-centric approach to HCP and DTC marketing solves these challenges. By understanding current and future patient need, brands can focus marketing on the patients where their medication is the ideal option – and when those patients are expected to be meeting with their care team. And by communicating with those patients and their HCPs around those care windows, patients and physicians come to each visit with a common understanding of potential treatment options. The result? Faster therapy start, better brand adherence, stronger brand relationships, and increased commercial impact.

Get the full results from our 2024 independent physician survey.
Download a Copy of the White Paper.