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Mapping the intricate oncology landscape

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Simon Grime, of Wilmington Healthcare, explains how data and intelligence tools help pharma deliver tailored engagement programmes to diverse stakeholders in an intricate oncology landscape.

Oncology is a highly complex disease area in which to implement precisely tailored and therefore more effective customer engagement programmes; this is partly due to the wide variety of multi-disciplinary stakeholders involved and the specialist nature of the physician for each tumour type.

These stakeholders include payers, providers and influencers, and they range from organisations such as NHS England (NHSE) and Genomics UK to diagnosticians, pathologists and health informatics experts.

They also include bodies like clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), specialised commissioning and specialist trusts; as well as recently introduced organisations, such as Cancer Alliances and Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

These stakeholders sit within an intricate structure which has been evolving in line with the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition to improve patient outcomes in cancer by diagnosing the disease earlier and delivering care via integrated services.

So, with the complexity of the landscape, identifying Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for rare conditions can be a challenge for companies, let alone accessing deeper insight and intelligence on these individuals and their wider networks to enable meaningful interactions.

It can also be difficult to define who is responsible for commissioning different parts of the care pathway. For example, pathology laboratories are funded by the hospitals’ own budgets, while NHSE pays for the drugs.

It’s critical to have granularity in the data held for these audiences and understand their challenges, needs and prescribing habits, as well as reimbursement, so that messages can be tailored accordingly.

Sophisticated datasets and tools help pharma to identify and map all of its potential audiences, including sub-specialists. They can highlight the different roles and responsibilities that individual contacts hold and define where they sit in the decision-making hierarchy and structure. They can also pinpoint the networks key stakeholders feed into and understand their sphere of influence.

In addition, they can help pharma to better understand where money goes in the NHS for cancer care; who receives it and how it is spent, which is particularly important as the transition towards integrated care creates a more complex budgetary picture.

Prescribing patterns that drive key account management (KAM) and customer engagement

Another key challenge for pharma is understanding the prescribing landscape by therapy in each region, so that resources can be optimised, and precise KAM plans implemented. This intelligence is critical, and Wilmington Healthcare’s Specialist Share Data (SSD) often reveals that there can be significant and sometimes unexpected regional variations by patient group and key account.

Indeed, by interrogating this data, some pharma companies often find that their biggest customer opportunities are not located in the centres they expected; while others find that some parts of the country are prescribing more of one type of therapy despite having similar patient numbers and groups.

This is invaluable for informing key account management strategies and tailoring complementary integrated engagement programmes and optimising and integrating relevant channels to complement plans.

Tailoring customer engagement

This holistic intelligence enables a complementary and highly-integrated approach to how channels and messages can be applied in different regions. It both improves the engagement by the field force, but also and more importantly, it improves the penetration of key messages using lower cost and faster digital channels to customer preferences. Ultimately, this means greater uptake through a more personalised approach.