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Understanding customer needs in the fast-changing NHS

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Simon Grime explains how pharma can navigate the new integrated care landscape using an intelligence-led approach

The NHS’ bid to deliver fully integrated health and social care services by April 2021, as set out in the Long Term Plan, is changing pharma’s customer base and necessitating an increasingly intelligence-led approach.

So, what does this mean for industry? Ultimately it means that navigating this new landscape, identifying the customer, and influencing multiple stakeholders in primary and secondary care is a tough challenge, and evidence suggests that many companies are not prepared.

So far there are only 14 Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) – although a further six are expected by April 2020 – andNHS England anticipates that 80% of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) will achieve ICS status by the April 2021 deadline.

This means there is significant variation across England with regards to progress on integrated care, with some areas already having an ICS in place; while others are in financial recovery and therefore at the start of their transformation journey.

Even within the first wave of ICSs, there are varying levels of sophistication with a handful of high-fliers leading the way and exploring contracts with a greater element of risk share between providers and commissioners.

As ICSs form up and evolve, new decision-making units are being created with key stakeholders ranging from the most senior NHS executives, CCG commissioning and transformation leads, medicines management staff and clinicians to local authority officers and patient groups.

Identifying key stakeholders within these new organisations and understanding decision-making structures nationally and locally is fundamental for pharma’s go-to-market strategy, segmentation and customer engagement.

However, this is challenging owing to the speed and scale of change within the NHS and the fact that,in common with STPs, ICSs are not legislated NHS bodies.

Wilmington Healthcare is increasingly working with a range of clients and organisations across care pathways and therapies, utilising its access and proximity to the NHS to provide a clear translation of the changes and simplify pharma access to key customer segments.

This ranges from local situation analysis and market dynamics assessment, to national and local segmentation strategy and optimal customer engagement across multiple channels.

The data and intelligence that Wilmington Healthcare holds on the NHS is market-leading and enables pharma to build trust with customers.

Through the strategic application of this intelligence, industry is better able to align its national and local strategy and plan, whilst also providing tools for teams to engage regionally.

By adopting this intelligent approach, clients can optimise their key account plans and the way they precisely engage customers to deliver tailored messages through a variety of channels. This, in turn, means building deeper and more trusted and valuable relationships that are based on a solid understanding of the needs of the individual and the wider priorities of the organisations they represent.