Identify the top unmet needs of patients and physicians

Patients and physicians discussing unmet needs

As patients and physicians use pharma drugs, they share their experiences and challenges in social media and discussion forums. For example, they share how well a drug is working for them, post questions on how to handle side effects, and seek answers on payer coverage. These discussions are a rich source to understand unmet needs of patients and physicians. 

However, the patient and physician posts are dispersed across a variety of discussion boards, Twitter and other social media sites. These posts need to be aggregated across all such sources. Posts containing unmet needs need to be segregated from the rest of the posts, and detailed discussion topics need to be mined from such posts.

Once unmet needs are identified, Pharma companies can act on them to improve the patient and physician experience. Below are 3 examples of how Pharma can act on the unmet needs mined from social conversations.

  1. Content strategy for drug websites

Pharma is a heavily regulated industry. Prior to publishing any new content on the drug websites, compliance, ethics and legal teams review it to ensure that the content adheres to what the drug is approved for. Such a review process elongates the timeline and the effort required to develop new content. As a result, pharma brands need to be selective about the content they are developing, and make sure that the content will be helpful to patients and physicians.  

Unmet needs and recurring questions discovered from physician and patient discussions can form a basis for creating relevant content on websites. As shown in the following example, a common question typically asked for most drugs is how CBD oil interacts with drugs.

Creating and adding relevant content to the drug’s website would help the patients and physicians get answers to their key questions.

  1. Work with payers to address coverage & pricing issues

Patient conversations often contain the issues they are facing in getting the drugs covered by payers. Mining the conversations for such insights can help identify the payers and geographies where patients are facing such issues. Following patient post is an example of how a patient could not be covered for getting treatment using Revlimid.

Using above mentioned posts, pharma companies identify the payer coverage gaps, and work with payers to cover their drugs. Additionally, Pharma companies can communicate how patients can get support related to payer coverage and post FAQs on the drug’s websites. This helps patients get access to the key drugs they need for their treatment.

  1. Field force training

Patient and physician discussions can uncover key questions asked by patients and physicians, and other challenges such as drug availability and pricing. Sizing these discussion topics help prioritize the key issues that field reps can be trained on. Such training on key issues empowers Reps to inform physicians on how to address key challenges.

The following example illustrates a common side effect that patients taking Imbruvica experience. 

Continuously finding updating the list of frequently asked questions and training Reps on them would better equip the field force when they face the same questions from physicians.

As illustrated in above examples, patients and physician conversations contain a rich trove of unmet needs. PharmaSignals platform uses AI to uncover such unmet needs.


Competitor Intelligence on Messaging Changes using Automated Website Monitoring

Pharma companies maintain patient and physician websites for each of their drugs to provide information such as efficacy and safety of their drugs. These web pages provide rich insight into how they are positioning and messaging their drugs, and how it is changing over time. Pharma companies can monitor websites of their competitors to glean competitive intelligence on key messaging changes.

However, a pharma drug typically has half a dozen key competitors to track and analyze. Each competitor drug has a patient and physician website, with each website containing 10 to 20 pages to monitor. This implies that a drug company needs to monitor 120 to 240 webpages on a daily basis. The changes identified from daily monitoring are not always relevant to messaging. Hence, valuable changes need to be separated from noisy changes. Performing these activities on a daily basis and identifying key messaging changes can be tedious, resource-consuming and prone to errors. This blog post discusses how automated website monitoring can overcome these challenges and produce valuable competitive intelligence.

Automating tracking of changes in competitor websites

Web crawlers can collect content from webpages on a daily basis. However, the crawlers need to be customized to overcome several nuances such as scraping dynamic content, images & data from pop-ups. Additionally, the scrapers need to overcome blockers and navigate through page hierarchy. Such customizations ensure reliable and comprehensive data collection. Once the data is collected on a daily basis, text mining & pixel mining programs can be configured to identify the daily changes and quantify the percentage of data that changed on the website.

Parsing out key messaging changes

Webpage changes can range from not-so-important changes such as footnotes to very valuable changes such as key messaging changes. A well trained Natural Language Processing (NLP) classifier can parse out the valuable changes from the noisy changes. Following graphic illustrates an output –

Distributing the detected changes to key stakeholders

Once the key changes are parsed, they can be sent to key stakeholders as daily alerts so that they take timely decisions related to their own brands. Following graphic illustrates an example email that can be sent to the key stakeholders.

.SetuServ’s AI-Powered PharmaSignals platform uses the above mentioned technologies to monitor competitive websites for valuable content changes. It monitors the competition through one central interface and notifies the concerned team about new insights, amendments, and additions via e-mail.