Modern omnichannel campaigns require the coordination of a multitude of materials and media, and teams must prioritize their resources amid that complexity. But one thing is clear: Point of care is too important to be an afterthought, and teams that include the channel in their initial planning will be best positioned to help patients and drive prescriptions.
At April’s PHM HealthFront event, Sarah Bast, Publicis Health Media EVP, Investment Marketplace, made the case for taking a Day-1 approach to point of care. When asked in conversation with Jordan Osborne, Phreesia Lead Client Experience Manager, what advice she would give people planning point-of-care campaigns, Bast emphasized starting early and explained what that means in practice.
“You should think about point of care from the start,” Bast said. “When we’re doing TV shoots, we’re now thinking about digital. Let’s think about point of care as well. Let’s make sure that we’re adding on to those campaigns and talking about what’s happening in the moment.”
Here are four reasons to follow Bast’s advice and incorporate point of care into the earliest stages of media planning.
1. Point of care offers an opportunity to empower patients
The point of care is a critical moment in the care journey. For a brief window, patients are focused on their health and minutes away from having a conversation that may influence what their healthcare provider (HCP) prescribes. The messages that companies deliver at the point of care can help patients get what they want out of those provider conversations—and that means teams need to think strategically.
“We really want to make sure we’re empowering [patients] and giving them educational materials,” Bast said. “Even though you made that appointment, you’re really nervous when you’re walking in there. We want to remind patients that they need to ask the questions that they came to get answered.”
2. Patients find the point of care more reliable than other channels
Patients are receptive to the messages they see at the point of care. A 2022 Phreesia survey found that patients consider point of care as more reliable than other channels, and it motivates them to bring up their health concerns with their HCP during their appointment. So it’s vital to maximize the impact of the channel—and that requires early planning.
Among 10,500 patients surveyed by Phreesia, trust in the medical information provided at the point of care was significantly higher (20%) than trust in the health content they saw in print (14%), on social media (10%), on the internet (9%) or on TV (8%). Patients also value information provided at the point of care more highly, with 17% of respondents saying that such messaging is at least “quite a bit” helpful. By comparison, only 13% found print similarly helpful, 10% found social media useful, and TV/streaming services messaging and internet messaging rated even lower at 9% and 7%, respectively.
Bast cited patients’ mindset as one explanation for why point of care is such a trusted channel. “There’s a credibility that comes because it’s in the HCP’s office, that halo effect,” she said.
3. Point of care requires its own knowledge base and experience
Point of care is too specialized for companies to tack it on at the end of campaign planning. Strategies that work in other contexts may fail to drive desired outcomes at the point of care—a setting where brand teams have a narrow window to shape what will happen when the patient meets with their HCP.
Bast underscored the need to devise distinct point-of-care strategies, urging teams to do more than just repurpose a campaign’s existing elements for the channel. Rather, she sees the point of care as an opportunity to provide patients with specific, actionable information such as “The two questions you should ask your physician” or “Five tips for after you leave the doctor’s office.”
4. An empathetic approach is essential
Crafting the right message is particularly important at the point of care—and that can take time. By considering point-of-care strategies early in campaign planning, companies can ensure they deliver an empathetic message that aligns with the patient’s frame of mind at an important and vulnerable moment in their care journey.
“First and foremost, be empathetic,” Bast said. “No matter what life stage [the patient is in], being empathetic in your creative [is important]. The mindset of the patient is really powerful, as well. They’re thinking about interacting with their healthcare professional, so really, there is an opportunity across all the different life stages.”
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