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Knowledge Hub

Mapping NHS change is key to customer engagement

Simon Grime, of Wilmington Healthcare, explains how data and intelligence can help industry understand and engage customers in the new integrated care landscape.

Understanding how the NHS is changing and simplifying access to key customer segments has never been more important or more challenging for pharma as the new integrated health and social care agenda takes shape.

It is apparent that many UK affiliates are struggling when it comes to understanding the impact of these changes and how to translate and simplify them in order to gain market access and then plan and integrate personalised customer engagement through digital channels, within key account strategies and plans.

However, by mapping changes, nationally and/or locally, and their impact on a therapy area or patient pathway, businesses can segment their approach and develop relevant tailored engagement strategies across appropriate and preferred channels, depending on the audience mix.

The right granular data also drives identification of key decision-makers, payers and other important stakeholders across multi-disciplinary teams, such as Primary Care Network (PCN) people and data, practice managers and NHS management roles, within new Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), as well as those responsible for leading change in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs).

Furthermore, it enables industry to define the multiple roles that an individual may hold, as well as their special interests. This helps companies to integrate highly tailored key account strategy and planning with the intelligence and data that informs resource optimisation and more precise and relevant customer engagement.

An intelligence-led and data-driven approach can also include national and local situation analysis, and/or a market dynamics assessment. This can inform a segmentation strategy and enable optimal customer engagement across multiple channels. This, in turn, will lead to more measured, productive and therefore more trusted relationships with key customers.

Although granular data is fundamental for pharma’s go-to-market strategy, accessing it is often challenging owing to the scale and complexity of change within the NHS. For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define how a drug is funded; who makes the decisions on which drugs to use and how patient referral pathways work.

This is further complicated by the fact that STPs and ICSs are not legislated NHS bodies. In fact, sometimes the only way to identify STP/ICS staff is via the ‘attendance and apologies’ section in minutes and strategy documents embedded in member organisation board papers. This is a difficult and time-consuming task. Consequently, digital tools to scrape the data are vital for simplifying the process.

By devoting time and resources to understand how care pathways are mapped and who the decision-makers are, industry can ensure it applies the appropriate level of resource optimisation. This leads to more informed, relevant and engaging interactions with the right customers, at the right time, across multiple channels.

This tailored approach is essential to earn trust and create the right environment in which to form long-term and valued relationships with customers. A deep understanding of the customer landscape is therefore fundamental for success.