3 Tips for Making Direct-to-Consumer Trends Work for Healthcare

Direct to consumer trends pharmacy shopping

Consumer expectations across industries have never been higher. With just a couple of clicks, you’re able to place an order online and have it at your doorstep within hours. While this ease for consumers isn’t as common in the healthcare space, things are starting to change. Nowhere are we seeing this more than in the pharmaceutical industry. The rise of direct-to-consumer medications reflects the trend of providing consumers with the same convenience and speed for prescriptions as they experience with essentials from Amazon, including Amazon’s Pharmacy.

Consumer behavior is evolving at a rapid rate, with greater demand by consumers for personalized experiences and self-service, alongside lowered costs and increased options. Disintermediating prescription benefit managers, and often payers, have allowed big pharma to deliver high-demand medications directly into the hands of consumers. Numerous companies like Eli Lilly, Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs, and even Amazon have already jumped into this space through the development of digital pharmacies and direct-to-consumer medication services.

When providing direct-to-consumer goods, having a strong online presence is table stakes, as 87% of shoppers begin their product search online. This trends true within the healthcare space. A recent Engagys study found that most Medicare-aged members reported that they had used and/or prefer using digital channels for their health-related needs. Evolving consumerism and a heightened desire for individuals to engage with their healthcare digitally, and with greater ease, amplifies the need for the direct-to-consumer medication market.

These changes within the pharmaceutical industry have required manufacturers to rethink how they engage more directly with consumers. Cutting through the noise and grabbing healthcare consumers’ attention requires deploying many of the behavioral science-based strategies that traditional direct-to-consumer companies have employed for decades—but with a more personalized and targeted twist.

Target those that want…or need to hear from you

The first step is targeting and segmenting your population for improved personalization in communications. This ultimately results in greater reach and a boost in engagement. For example, Engagys’ work in developing segmented and personalized outreach for a condition management provider/health tech organization resulted in a:

  • 2x increase in program enrollment rate
  • Improved overall patient engagement

Keep them engaged long-term

Buying a maintenance medication once is great—ensuring sustained engagement and long-term adherence is the goal. Creating continued touchpoints personalized to the consumer’s journey leads to improved consumer trust. To drive sustained engagement:

  • Identify what your consumer needs and when they need it.
  • Understand the consumer’s communication preferences—how and when do they want to communicate?
  • Provide personalized education and tips that allow individuals to take ownership of their health.

Open up access

Drug manufacturers know how difficult it is to reach at-risk individuals during clinical trial enrollment. This same population often has difficulty accessing much-needed medications. Ensuring better access for at-risk members to engage in the direct-to-consumer space is critical. Delivering personalized, relevant, and timely messages to hard-to-reach consumers improves outcomes.

Recently, through the use of best practice messaging, Engagys helped one client achieve a 57% improvement in Medicaid member engagement. Effectively engaging this at-risk population connected them with life-changing Social Security (SSI) disability income and benefits.

Let our proven best practices work for you

As healthcare delivery evolves and consumer preferences take center stage, it will be more critical than ever for health plans, pharmacy benefits managers, and life science companies to keep pace. Engagys has the proven capabilities and best practices to increase healthcare consumer engagement and drive desired actions.

Contact us today to optimize your direct-to-consumer outreach.

Malaika Pasch
  • Malaika Pasch

Malaika is a driven business analyst with diverse experience in research and data analysis. Her research background includes projects investigating the impact of the social determinants of health on the patient experience as well as exploring the promotion of physical activity in individuals with COPD. Her past roles include work with Elevance Health, the American Physiological Society, and the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Malaika holds a bachelor's degree in Movement Science from the University of Michigan.