How Medical Device and Pharma Companies Can Reach Short-Term Patients

January 5, 2017

As I’ve discussed before, it’s important to get your patient education in the hands of physicians. This is especially important if your company sells medications and devices intended for short-term care.

Patient relationships with short-term care differ from long-term care. In short-term care, you have your own unique challenges with getting in front of patients. It’s all about navigating those challenges in a way that makes sense for the type of patient you want to help.

Doctor Examining Patient's Knee with Nurse Writing Down Notes

Challenges in Short-Term Care

In short-term care, patients aren’t seeing a physician regularly to manage a chronic or long-term health problem. They don’t need to follow a particular care plan for an extended period of time to maintain their health.

Examples of short-term medical care might include a sudden injury, a minor illness like a cold or ear infection, or even a procedure like a joint replacement. A patient may see their doctor for follow-up visits, but there is no ongoing care after the patient has recovered from the injury, illness, or procedure.

When your company sells medications and devices used in short-term medical care, patients aren’t using your products for an extended period of time. This means that your company isn’t likely to achieve brand awareness the way that long-term medical devices and medications would.

If a patient has to wear a knee brace for an injury, or get a hip replacement, there is a good chance that patient won’t remember the name of the company who made the brace or the hip implant. Because their health problem doesn’t require long-term maintenance, they often don’t think about the medication or device itself and aren’t as likely to stay loyal to a particular brand.

Because of the nature of this type of care, your company has to focus on getting new patients, rather than fostering brand loyalty among current patients. It’s a different kind of strategy than long-term care, but you can make it work for you.

The key is working with your physicians and getting your messaging into their hands.

Doctor Shaking Hand with Professional

Reaching Patients Via Physicians

When patients aren’t as likely to be loyal to your brand or products, it’ critical to get your messaging into the hands of your physicians in the form of patient education.

Providing patient education content to your physicians helps in a a couple of ways. First, it helps reinforce patients’ decisions when they are looking for a physician. Second, it helps your physicians provide comprehensive care to your patients, which in turn may make them more likely to refer others.

When you can provide comprehensive patient education to your physicians, you can help patients make the right decisions for their health. You can vet patients before they make the appointment, so that your physicians are seeing more of the patients who can benefit most from their care.

When patients are taken care of and given good information to maintain their health, they are more likely to recommend their physician to friends and family with similar health problems. Patients in short-term care may not remember the brand of the device or medication used during their treatment, but they do remember the doctor that helped them get better.

Your patient education content can help to reassure patients that they are making the right choice in physician, whether the patient found the physician organically or was referred. That is the real win for both your company and your physicians. More patients who can benefit from your medications or devices will get the care they need.

It is difficult to foster brand loyalty in short-term care, but you can foster loyalty to the physicians that use your products. You just have to give your physicians the tools they need to do so.

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