Planning a Successful Pharma to Patient Text Messaging Support Program

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Pharmaceutical companies are starting to embrace text messaging as a key tool to provide patients and their caregivers with much-needed support. Although texting is not a new technology, using it as an interactive communications / CRM tool for patient management and support is a new practice. When planning and executing a messaging program there are many issues and challenges that need to be addressed. What follows are the key things to think about as you consider designing a patient touch program via text messaging.

When we work with our clients we help them walk through many mileposts along the way and it starts by asking many of these important questions:

What is the main objective?

You may want to use texting to educate patients, sign them up for additional services (e.g. nurse support), or to help them with therapy compliance (adherence and persistence), or perhaps build a comprehensive patient support program. Do you want to engage a patient caregiver as part of the program? Are you collecting data? If yes, how is it being captured?

How will you get access to your target user?

  • Will you do a direct-to-consumer (DTC) execution, and if so will it be through the provider office or media (don’t forget that outside the USA DTC is not permitted and you have to leverage the provider).

  • Can you get a 3rd party to offer it to their patient base (e.g. specialty pharmacy network, managed care plan, large provider group, etc.)? Is that permissible under HIPAA?

What is the best way to onboard the target user, i.e. how will they sign up for the program?

  • Will they sign up on their own? If so, will it be via SMS, web, or telephone outreach?

  • What is the most effective call to action?

  • If a 3rd party will sign them up, does it fit their workflow, and if not, will they be able to execute it?

  • If you pay a 3rd party to do the onboarding what vehicles will they use? Is their process compliant with all the regulations?

  • Are they cost-effective?

Do you want to allow target users to text you back and what will you accept in a return message?

You can't stop them from texting back, so how will you handle this? At OptimizeRx, we have developed a set of tools uniquely designed to help pharma companies deal with this tricky issue. Does your vendor have this covered? If you do want them to text you back, do you want it to be "controlled" or open-ended? What are the consequences of this decision? If you want to leave it open-ended, how will you monitor it? How will you route the messages and to whom? How do you deal with Adverse Event reporting?

What are the regulations you have to be compliant with and how do you best set up the program to both achieve the objectives and comply with these regs?

How do you measure success?

  • What metrics are important to track, as no matter what your objective there are several key metrics to track?

  • How can you capture these metrics and how do you track and report on them?

  • Do you want the end-user to be able to track their own progress? What is the best way to allow them to do that?

  • What type of data can you get by partnering with covered entities?

  • How do you define your ROI measurements?

With our years of experience setting up patient engagement programs, we have successfully navigated our clients through all of these questions and more. We can work with you to ensure that your programs are designed to have the best chance of success at meeting their goals and objectives while improving patient care. The best part is, we can do it all while fitting your messaging neatly into the patient's daily routine.