Healthcare practitioners spend their workday in and out of the Electronic Health Record (EHR). The majority of prescriptions are sent electronically. Increasingly, patient education is delivered through EHR patient engagement tools. Health IT is becoming the enabler of higher quality healthcare at lower costs.
The role of EHR companies is expanding beyond technology into healthcare services and solutions. This additional role requires them to expand their capabilities. It also affords them opportunities to generate value.
EHR companies are collaborating with healthcare stakeholders who share their customer’s goals of higher quality healthcare at lower costs. Pharmaceutical companies are one such stakeholder. Our medicines, vaccines and biologics are vital components of healthcare. Our services and solutions such as education, product samples and patient financial assistance programs enable proper use and compliance with our products.
EHR companies are forming commercial relationships with pharmaceutical manufacturers to sponsor programs. One objective of these programs is to integrate pharmaceutical services and solutions into the clinical workflow to enable easier access by healthcare providers and patients. Another objective is to educate and raise awareness of the appropriate use of our products.
Let’s be clear here—this is not brand promotion. Those activities are best left to traditional promotional channels. EHR companies are looking for commercial partners whose business objective aligns with their business objective of enabling higher quality healthcare at lower costs.
How do you know if an EHR program is right for your brand? Here are three simple questions to quickly assess whether these programs are worth a look:
1. Is my therapeutic area a high-priority health condition?
The federal government and private payers are driving healthcare quality through a National Quality Strategy captured in six National Quality Domains. These National Quality Domains focus on high-priority health conditions and best-practices for healthcare delivery. Progress will be tracked through a set of Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) that will measure a healthcare provider’s performance. If your therapeutic area is not a high-priority health condition, you lack the relevance needed to generate interest from the EHRs and their healthcare clients.
2. Can I map out a practical use case in the clinical workflow?
The EHRs basic function is to manage the clinical workflow. The clinical workflow is designed to effectively accomplish the objectives of the clinical encounter. EHR programs sponsored by a pharmaceutical company must in no way detract from the objectives of the clinical encounter. In fact, it must be additive. A sponsored program must make the clinical encounter more effective and/or efficient to warrant an EHR company’s consideration.
3. Is my brand a strategic priority for my company?
EHRs collaborations are new for our industry. Difficult strategic, operational and regulatory issues need to be examined. Only brands with strategic importance in the portfolio are likely to garner the needed resources and sponsorship.
EHR technology has changed how your customers deliver healthcare. EHR companies are more than just technology vendors—they deliver services and solutions to their healthcare clients. If you can honestly answer yes to the questions posed in this article, an EHR program might be right for your brand.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Merck and Company, its affiliates, or its employees.