In light of recent media coverage of privacy breaches and identity theft, as well as poor management of personal information, regulators and consumers are increasingly looking for ways to protect sensitive data from being disclosed or compromised. The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries face unique challenges as they build a strong privacy culture that ensures information security without compromising the flow of critical patient care information.
Technological advances have enabled pharmaceutical marketers to integrate fragmented health data while still adhering to privacy regulations like HIPAA. This shift is changing the way pharmaceutical companies interact with healthcare providers and optimize patients’ journeys to health, from therapeutic breakthroughs and drug benefits at critical moments of care to cost-effective solutions to global data protection challenges. In order to continue establishing data privacy, it is essential for healthcare organizations, regulatory bodies, technology providers, and researchers to work together to create responsible data management that benefits all stakeholders.
Understanding Health Data
The healthcare sector, being stringently regulated, necessitates that innovators are well-versed in the dynamic privacy law landscape and the data ecosystem to ensure their solutions are compliant. On top of regulations, marketers often struggle to derive actionable insights from voluminous data due to a lack of sophisticated tools. Overcoming these obstacles allows marketers to comprehend the HCP’s care journey, providing pertinent treatment information at crucial times.
Today, marketers can analyze and connect clinical data, in a privacy-safe way, to reach relevant patient populations and their respective healthcare providers at critical moments of care. For example, the clinical data healthcare providers enter in their patient’s electronic health systems can trigger relevant communications about clinical trials, new medications, financial assistance programs to drive drug adherence and reduce readmittance rate, ultimately improving the patients care and their health outcome.
The ever-changing global privacy environment is complex and inconsistent. Organizations innovating in healthcare must allocate dedicated resources to stay abreast and adapt to changes in data privacy regulations across different regions. These rules influence various aspects of marketing, including data collection methods, data hygiene, audience targeting, legal disclaimers on creative assets, and campaign impact tracking, and beyond.
Companies operating across diverse regions globally must navigate multiple regulatory frameworks, such as HIPAA, GDPR, CPPA, Washington’s My Health My Data Act, the Digital Surveillance Ban, and recent laws like New York’s ban on patient-targeted geo-fencing near healthcare facilities, to name a few.
Compliance with privacy laws like HIPAA and SOC-2 requires systematic data collection, transfer protocols, and encryption to protect personal data while ensuring ethical marketing practices. For example, patient-level data can only be utilized for targeting if the individual has opted-in. Alternatively, digital pharma marketers develop look-alike models to identify potential patients, with the exception of using patient-specific data within electronic health records (EHRs) to convey clinically relevant messages to HCPs at critical moments of care.
Building Patient Trust
Leveraging HIPAA-compliant, privacy-compliant health data is revolutionizing pharma marketing. Technological advancements in HCP targeting and patient audience modeling have demonstrated their potential to save lives and promote equity in healthcare. By delivering crucial information such as therapeutic options or clinical trials for rare diseases, and financial assistance programs, marketers can facilitate informed discussions between patients and doctors. This approach not only strengthens trust within the healthcare ecosystem but also enhances the patient’s journey towards health.
As the educated patient becomes increasingly involved in the therapeutic process, customer-centric marketing has also been observed to supplant product-centric marketing. As a result, marketers are looking to build relationships with physicians based on driving better healthcare outcomes, as opposed to the traditional product-centric and prescription-led approach. As digitally empowered patients research ailments and prescribed medications, pharma companies are better able to target content at the right time.
Ensuring Stakeholder Consent
As third-party cookies disappear and new data privacy laws emerge across the country, pharma marketers need to ensure every digital engagement that involves data with a prospective client is consent-based. Consent with Health Care Providers (HCPs) must be set up to avoid compliance issues that could run afoul of privacy rules and expose data to unnecessary risk. Pharmaceutical marketers today need solutions that handle personal identity resolution and use that data to manage permissions and opt-in processes, as well as general consent. Managing topic-based engagements, monitoring email bounce and implementing suppression techniques – all of which are out of reach without an effective identity and consent architecture – today’s marketers should at least have tools for doing so.