We all know two of the main target audiences of pharma companies. We’re talking about either healthcare providers or patients. But there’s one key stakeholder whose role gets overlooked many times: caregivers. What exactly could their role be in the spectrum that pharma companies engage in? Let’s find out.
What is the real role of caregivers in this context?
Even though many times they go unnoticed in this engagement relationship, caregivers have a vital outside role. A new report from Phreesia Life Sciences, conducted on more than 2,000 caregivers was very revealing. 92% have stated that they take an active part in their patients’ conversations with their doctors.
The fact that there’s an aging population in the U.S. with a larger life expectancy led to the role of a caregiver being more valued. It’s a form of support given by people with disabilities or who need to rely on a company to care for themselves.
This same inquiry has shown that over 52% of patients under the wing of a caregiver rely on them to make their healthcare decisions. 30% of the patients at stake always talk with their caregivers about their treatment options before taking a final decision.
What’s in it for pharma companies?
Considering this information makes them a potential target audience to reach. Especially when it comes to medicine or treatment options directed toward elders. As Phreesia pointed out, in 2020, the US reported a relevant increase in caregivers’ activities, with a total of 53 million within that period.
This means that they have the power to influence their patients’ decisions. Some caregivers do the check-in for doctor’s appointments either for themselves or for their patients. Often they act almost like a second shadow to their patients. They engage in daily tasks such as:
- Scheduling doctor’s appointments;
- Picking up prescription medicine;
- Helping to track the health status of the people in their care;
- Accompanying their patients to the doctor;
- Managing the patient’s medication to make sure it’s taken with no flaws.
Most important: like healthcare professionals, they have needs that pharma companies can provide them. Especially on better information sources and more training and education options for them.
Yes, caregivers could use the help of pharma
To provide a clear context on the sample in this study, 76% of the respondents were women, and more than half were above the age of 55. They need the support of pharma companies, as they are caring for aging parents. Not to mention that some of them also have kids in their family context.
On issues they are facing, 75% pointed to a feeling of stress (either moderate or in extreme levels. 55% have admitted that emotional support is their number one need in this field, something that in their case is still overlooked often.
Other specific needs involve the lack of resources to provide their patients with primal optimal care (as stated by 40%). More than half of them (54%) are open to the possibility of an education or training. They are open to useful information (both in theory and practice) to better help them manage patients and their conditions.
Can pharmaceutical companies provide a certain “spotlight” to caregivers?
Many pharmaceutical companies are providing robust patient programs and offering caregiver support services. Still, there’s a growing need for better streamlining and coordination in these services.
The need for training and educational programs could be a potential first step to tackling these potential stakeholders. There’s also the possibility of support services for this job position, such as support groups and forums online.
Targeting certain communication campaigns towards them or providing them with their section on a pharma website could be an option. It makes sense to acknowledge that this job has a vital role to play in providing a certain fraction of the population with content and other initiatives that value their contribution to a better quality of life and healthcare.
In short, it’s more than a matter of more information and options. Caregivers can become a target audience for pharma companies due to their proximity to patients.
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