Writing for Pharmaceutical Executive, WEGO Health CEO Jack Barrette recently shared some thoughts on how pharma can benefit from working with patient influencers. Sometimes called patient key opinion leaders (KOLs), this group is engaged, educated, and well-trusted by other patients. Working with patient influencers, Jack explains, can be very worthwhile for pharma.
Patient KOLs are already working to help educate their communities. They are sharing tips, answering questions, and directing fellow patients to resources like patient assistance programs (PAPs). Many are even creating their own educational resources.
Ultimately, these patient KOLs are helping to influence overall perception of a given medication with its corresponding risks, side effects, and efficacy. This can be extremely beneficial to brands. There are opportunities for pharma to partner with patient KOLs to improve existing resources in order to minimize confusion and show empathy.
One important point is how patient KOLs influence the behavior of other patients. Patient influencers, Jack writes, “can drive awareness by educating their communities, but patient influencers’ more critical role is guiding patients from awareness to the doctor’s office, and from an initial prescription to the decision to fill.”
Patient influencers also recognize how important a medication’s impact on daily life can be to patients, often even more important than efficacy. Jack explains that patients are nearly unanimous in believing that both pharma and HCPs tend to “underplay the real role of daily life in dictating even life-saving treatment decisions.”
Most in the pharma industry today understand the importance of being patient-centric. Jack argues that the best way for pharma to truly embrace patient centricity is to create a patient KOL advisory group, just like they already do with physician KOLs.
Visit PharmExec.com for more insight on working with patient KOLs.