While the Point of Care (POC) channel for patient education and brand advertising was established many years ago, it has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. Brand marketers and healthcare providers have embraced it, benefiting from delivering the right message, to the right patient, at the right time. In the current environment, every marketing dollar counts, media fragmentation continues, and the desire to be hyper-targeted exists more than ever. POC strategy and tactics represent a carved-out slice in many brands’ marketing plans. However, there are still substantial opportunities for brands to share in the growth and evolution of POC.
Growth of the POC channel has been fueled by marketers’ support as an effective communication vehicle, as well as the medical community, who see it as a way to help patients become more educated to make more informed treatment decisions. Engagement driven by POC will lead to better health outcomes and positive impact on healthcare cost burden.
Why POC Should be Part of Your Brand Plan
The POC channel has expanded beyond waiting rooms to include exam rooms, as well as pre/post doctor visit opportunities, including EHRs, patient portals, and mobile devices. From a geographic standpoint, offices can be selected on a national or regional basis, aligned to sales strategies, disease specialties, or spend parameters. The ability to impact more points along the patient journey allows for message frequency, as well as integration and synergy with the other brand’s efforts. The new technology platforms and data allow for greater targeting precision and scale. With its flexibility, POC should be a hard-working part of every pharma brand plan.
While the POC channel continues to grow, marketers need to feel comfortable and forge trusted relationships with their vendors. Confidence in program execution, KPIs, and ROI results need to be transparent and fully aligned on all sides. Independent company measurement has become more prevalent and advancements are being made on industry standards that will allow comfort for all stakeholders and support accelerated growth in the channel. With measurability as one of the channel’s strengths, vendors are working with PoC3, the industry’s association, to establish standard audit metrics to ensure comfort and assurance in the future.
As patients continue to be more active in managing their healthcare, the POC channel will continue to be vitally important for marketers. Its proven ability to positively impact the patient-physician dialogue offers tremendous hope in improving treatment initiation, adherence, and ultimately health outcomes. Vetted data and program results will allow marketers and vendors to better understand what drives patient behavior, and targeted opportunities will continue to evolve, leveraging technological innovation and achievement.