I am delighted to be a speaker at the Panagora Pharma Customer Experience Summit 2017 this week – http://bit.ly/2nEB4Sj. I have spoken at this event the past 4 years and can gauge the changes in the industry focus by what is on the agenda. Pandora, like some other industry meetings and organizations, has been taking the industry kicking and screaming to understand a concept that is fundamental in other industries – that the end-user must be our focus. This year there are many more patient-focused speakers than in the past – this says , to me, that the industry IS listening.

Panagora usually has a patient speaking at the event. I am always surprised at just how foreign the patient experience is to many in the audience. Ours is an industry that is dependent on patients taking the drugs we offer. Why aren’t we better at understanding our end-user’s perspective?

So, as I said in my title – I am the final speaker on the agenda. This means I will probably be speaking to half the audience of the first day of the conference. When I speak I am usually careful about not being too contraversial as our industries pretty conservative and this whole “change to focus on the real end-user” message of mine seems to run counter to the prescription acquisition mindset that continues to fuel the bottom-line. But, hey, I am the final speaker. To me, this timing actually gives me a bit of permission to be controversial. After all, why not be provocative, making it worth it for those attendees who stay till the end of the conference?

So, I am challenging this audience. If you are doing marketing the same way as you did 5 years ago you are NOT focused on the patient. If your HUB only focuses on getting patients access to your drugs you are not doing enough. If your company sees access as engagement you are truly missing opportunities. If you put the needs of the patient at the center of these efforts it becomes obvious. Your marketing can be engaging and there are many ways to develop relationships with patients that are well within any regulatory guidelines, including HIPAA. Your HUB serves only you if you are not using the HUB to develop two-way communications with your patients. Your HUB can do so much more.

In the next few weeks I am focusing on the HUB and its potential. Industry journal Pharmaceutical Commerce – www.pharmacycommerce.com –  produces an annual report assessing HUB development and evolution. My coverage will include a drill-down of the evolution – starting from the days when we called this disease management. My hope is that the industry already speaks this language of the HUB. Maybe, using that language, the industry can finally hear how putting patients at the center of its business makes sense and can equally contribute to positive outcomes both for patient health and corporate health.