May 13, 2015
Less Than One In Five Patients Are Aware Of Services Available To Them,
Accenture Survey Finds
Once informed, 58 percent of patients use them and 79 percent rate those services as valuable
NEW YORK; May 13, 2015 – When patients are aware of therapeutic services, nearly six out of 10 of those surveyed use them (58 percent), and nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) perceive the services as extremely or very valuable, a new survey by Accenture reveals. Yet, less than one in five patients (19 percent) are aware these programs even exist.
The survey Patient Services: Pharma’s Best Kept Secret of 10,000 patients in five countries and across seven therapeutic areas reveals the extent of unmet patient needs across a patient’s care journey. Results show patient awareness is low across all therapeutic areas, ranging from 18 percent for bones, lung and heart conditions, to 21 percent for cancer and immune diseases.
The survey also revealed that patients want more help and guidance before they begin treatment for a disease, with their greatest frustration being lack of notification of being “at risk” for a condition. Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents (65 percent) said that pre-treatment is the most frustrating period of the patient journey, while 34 percent of patients surveyed cited frustration with the lack of knowledge that they might be at risk of a condition before they experience symptoms. This percentage rose to 44 percent of patients surveyed with immune diseases.
“These findings show there is a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to improve their impact in healthcare by raising patient awareness of value-added services throughout a patient’s care journey,” said Tony Romito, managing director Accenture, Life Sciences. “By identifying at risk patients earlier and then understanding and addressing their needs before being treated for a condition, pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to work with the broader healthcare system to provide treatment that could mitigate the advancement of their condition.”
The findings also showed that patients want a health care professionals such as doctors, specialists, nurses or pharmacists, to be the primary source of information for what services are recommended to manage their health, and many consider digital channels as primary sources to receive services. A large majority of patients (87 percent) say they want one point of contact to help them manage their health, and 85 percent want that single point of contact to be their healthcare professionals. Only one percent said they want pharmaceutical companies to be their primary point of contact.
“Most pharmaceutical companies today have not prioritized messaging around patient services to healthcare professionals and instead have focused messaging on areas such as clinical efficacy, safety, and access. With less than one in five patients aware of patient services, these survey results indicate investments in providing information and access to patient services should be revisited,” said Romito.
Doctors are one of the primary sources of information for the majority of patients (67 percent), according to the survey, but digital channels are a close second at 57 percent. This number does rise to 62 percent for 18-30 year olds surveyed.
Four ways to improve information, service delivery
Based on the survey results, Accenture recommends pharmaceutical companies focus on adjusting the way they create and deliver services to patients in several key areas:
  • The industry should consider closing the gap in patient service needs prior to a patient’s treatment for a diagnosed medical condition.  Most pharmaceutical companies have services - or are considering creating them - after patients are on a treatment. But the greatest unmet need for patients is before they begin treatment.
  • Although most pharmaceutical companies have made significant investments in services for patients, the companies need to increase focus on this area during a patient’s engagement with doctors and specialists who can recommend these services as their primary trusted advisors.
  • Market leaders must improve the way they package and integrate these services to provide a seamless patient experience. Pharmaceutical companies have created a myriad of services, which are poorly understood by patients or physicians. This approach will make it easier for healthcare professionals and patients to gain awareness and increase use.
  • To achieve these changes, pharmaceutical companies need to invest as much in the communication and coordination of patient services as they do in building them. 

View the interactive infographic: Patient Services: Pharma’s Best Kept Secret Infographic
About the research
Accenture retained Coleman Parkes Research Ltd. to conduct an online survey of 10,000 respondents in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Brazil (2000 per country) between December 2014 and January 2015.
Respondents were 18 years or above, with annual household income of $25K or above. For each country, we surveyed a minimum of 150 patients each with conditions affecting the heart, lungs, brain, immune system, the bones or any organs, hormones/metabolism and any area of cancer. The questions explored respondents’ perspectives on a variety of services, including information or education, financial assistance, reward programs, physician referrals, and nurse support.
About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 323,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014.  Its home page is
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Cam Granstra
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