How Pharmaceutical Companies Can Take Advantage of the EHR Revolution

The 21st century has seen a massive change in the way people live their lives. It is now the digital era, and almost everything is online or made available in electronic form. There are now jobs online. Elections are now run in many countries so that people can submit votes electronically. Hotel bookings and other travel accommodations can be done online. Even bank transactions are done over the web.

One of the most consequential manual-to-digital revolutions is the US government’s drive to create electronic health records (EHRs) from the mountains of filed information for patients. The main aim is to make medical information available to all concerned parties whenever needed. The long term goal is making healthcare significantly more effective.

This policy direction delivered a jolt to the medical IT industry, inspiring hospitals all over the US to start looking for digitalization partners. It has also pushed clinics and hospitals to standardize their functions, especially those that relate to drug formulas.

Because of the scale and promise of these standardization efforts, health and pharmaceutical leaders and administrators are wondering how to best respond and take advantage of the EHR frenzy. Here are some of the ways that pharma companies can plan for the future…

Intensify efforts to get empirical support for product effectiveness.

The digitization of almost everything has bestowed on people the power of more effective insight. The mountains of data that is being digitized can be searched for trends, such as the effectiveness of one prescription over another. Informative resources that allow anyone to immediately refer to them for help in making crucial decisions regarding health are now on the horizon.

To make their products appealing to doctors and patients, pharmaceutical companies can focus on getting empirical support for their claims. They can conduct many forms of scientific analysis on the use and effectiveness of their drugs.

However, be careful not to interpret with the results just so they project only a positive image. Bear in mind that the main purpose of testing is to understand the actual mechanisms at play and eventually get ideas on how to improve. Tests should never be aimed at getting marketing support points, though those are going to be very welcome bonuses if that is what the study uncovers.

Manage the price of offers

“I think most prescribers see the reality of how much drugs cost and what the impact of prescribing them is,” says Susan Mashni. She is the chief pharmacy officer of the Ohio-based Mercy Health group.  “As long as it’s just an educational discussion, they’re very responsive to the concept that you’re going to improve patient compliance if you don’t give them the most expensive drug out there.”

From this quote, it is clear that the eventual success of treatments is heavily hinged on the patient’s compliance with the provider’s advice or prescription. With the advent of the EHR, formularies are standardized and made available to the prescribing physicians.

If a patient complains that a particular drug is too expensive, alternatives can easily be accessed through the standardized formularies. If the alternative works, the provider will most probably reject the original prescription and go with the cheaper one moving forward. To compete, companies that sell drugs should really try to keep their prices at par with similar others on the market.

Maintain good relations with providers and buyers.

Even if a company’s drugs are good, they are going to be crossed out of an institution’s formulary if it’s difficult and costly to stock them. Time-tested customer service principles still apply even in the new age. Perhaps, even more so in healthcare where stress and pressure are always present. Pharma companies should never take their customers for granted.

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