Last month, Crossix Solutions, a leader in consumer-centric healthcare analytics, announced its largest-ever expansion of connected health data, which included new types of data such as hospital records, clinical/real-world data (RWD), and lab results. While that certainly sounds great, what does it actually mean to pharma marketers to have access to this information?
PM360 spoke with Jeremy Mittler, VP, Industry Solutions at Crossix about how this data expansion will impact pharma companies, what new metrics companies will now be able to use to measure success, and whether companies will need to adjust their current strategies based on the new information they will now have access to.
PM360: As a result of Crossix’s recent data expansion, what kinds of new data does it now give your clients access to?
Jeremy Mittler: Our expanded data set, including our best-in-class overlap across all of our health data assets, enables a much richer and far more comprehensive picture of patient behavior, beyond prescription (Rx) purchases alone. By connecting hospital records, electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), doctors’ notes, lab results, and other clinical data, our clients can now fill many of the knowledge gaps that have existed in terms of developing a deep and actionable understanding of what’s taking place at different points along the patient continuum. And in turn, these insights can better inform how they work toward driving better patient outcomes and stronger business results.
What makes the access to this data unique and how will it benefit pharma companies?
This is truly the first time ever that clinical data is being used for commercial analytics purposes. For years, clinical data has been used in isolation to answer certain questions. What is unique and new, however, is the ability to make important connections between different data points that have traditionally been disconnected. To link, for example, the information gleaned from doctor notes to bloodwork results to Rx usage data to individuals exposed to display or mobile ads offers a veritable wealth of insight into what factors trigger certain actions for distinct patient segments at different phases of their disease progression. Whereas previously one would need to rely upon some level of inference or conjecture based on the limited or disparate data sets available, now there’s far less guesswork and far more precision involved. Being able to connect the different data sets in meaningful ways is the key.
What will companies be able to learn that they couldn’t before, or was just previously difficult to determine?
In general, through enhanced access to clinical data, companies will be able to more effectively connect the dots between patients’ disease progression in terms of symptoms, side effects, responsiveness to treatment, and the treatment decisions and recommendations their providers make as a result. For example, companies can better understand how treatment decisions are made based on identifying things such as the varying levels of pain severity experienced by rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, the ranges of affected body surface area (BSA) among psoriasis sufferers, or even the fluctuations in A1C among diabetes patients. Moreover, companies can track how successful patients are in managing factors such as these, as well as outcomes through various forms of treatment.
A common issue we hear in this age of Big Data is how to turn hordes of information into actionable insights. So now that you have expanded your access to data, how do you plan to analyze and disseminate it in ways that make it valuable to pharma companies?
Since our inception, Crossix has always been an insights-focused analytics and technology company. While we analyze data, and analyze a lot of it, we are not currently focused on selling data. There are other companies that specialize in that. Instead, we help our clients understand what the data means for their brands and help them make informed, data-driven business decisions to fulfill whatever their strategic objectives may be. The real value of the expanded data for pharma companies lies within our ability to connect and synthesize all of it. And in doing so, we can derive insights that enable them to serve the right messaging to the most relevant audiences and to drive the greatest impact, whether from an outcomes or results perspective.
Now that companies will have more information along the patient journey, how will this change how they measure success?
Companies will now have the means by which to reimagine the way that they have traditionally measured success. And whereas success may have been defined by a few key measures in the past, now there will be multiple ways to define success and there will be more opportunities to dig deeper into which factors are actually driving or, conversely, impeding that success. For instance, evaluating the effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts by tracking new patient starts and other metrics based on sales has been a staple of campaign measurement for years. But now, through the types of broader clinical data mentioned earlier, companies will be more inclined and equipped to focus on measuring how their campaigns impact patient outcomes such as visiting a specialist or taking a test relevant to the condition in question, not just business results. And this continues the shift away from relying upon proxy engagement metrics that often don’t correlate to success.
Will companies need to alter any of their current strategies for reaching patients to meet these new definitions of success?
In many cases, yes, companies are now able to refine their approaches for reaching and engaging with patients, as a result of being considerably more informed, which is a good thing. To what extent companies will need to change largely depends on the specific company and what its key objectives are. For instance, a diabetes brand may discover that its digital media campaign—or more granularly, specific publishers within the campaign—is over-indexing or under-indexing in reaching patients with certain A1C levels or at particular stages in the progression of their condition. Then, based on this information, the brand can make decisions to optimize their campaigns accordingly to reach their desired audience.
What other ramifications do you think this expanded access to data will have on the industry in the near and long term?
It will reshape the entire pharma marketing ecosystem. The new metrics and greater precision in terms of defining and reaching the most relevant audiences, combined with major technological advances in audience-based marketing and impact measurement, are enabling a whole new level of marketing effectiveness. Marketers are facing increased accountability and investment scrutiny these days, and the ability to delve much deeper into things like attribution, cross-media dynamics, and the relationship between patient, payer, and HCP strategies will help them meet these growing demands with greater confidence, while realizing significantly greater yield from their investments.