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Intellus Fall Institute 2022

6 mins read

Emily Hoffman and Nirajana Tripathy recently joined over 200 attendees at the two-day Intellus Worldwide Institute in person in New Brunswick New Jersey (14-15 September 2022). It was a hybrid event, with delegates having the option to attend online as well. However, there was a great turnout, and it was invigorating to see everyone again in person after 2 years attending virtually. Emily and Nirajana had this to say about the event:

Day one:

The sessions were kicked off by the 2022 Intellus President, Scott von Lutcken who gave an update on the ongoing initiatives from the various Intellus Committees and upcoming events, including the return of the in-person Summit in March 2023.

The first plenary presentation focused on the use of advanced modeling to better predict future market shares. Multiple data sources, including patient claims data, publications and secondary reports, from across 68 specialty markets were used to create a simulator with the goal of understanding whether it is worthwhile to pursue late-entrant opportunities in crowded markets. The results were compared with Order of Entry (OOE) models that have been used for years, and they were able to identify 10 independent variables which were significant predictors of market share. Perhaps not surprising that there are other major influencers beyond OOE, given the number of successful products launched in crowded spaces. However, being able to identify the extent to which each variable can impact future uptake is crucial for developing the appropriate go-to-market strategy.

Next up was a session focused on Digital Therapeutics, or DTx. With all of the focus on digital these days, it can be easy to confuse the broader ‘digital health’ with Digital Therapeutics, in which digital interventions are the approach to treatment. EndeavorRx was highlighted as an example of DTx, being the first and only FDA-authorized video game treatment for ADHD, though it was noted that the rollout was underwhelming, as convincing physicians to prescribe and payers to buy-in remain challenging. To examine the potential path forward for DTx, a survey of physicians and life science professionals was conducted, and they found that while physicians are keen to use DTx, education for both patients and physicians will be needed on what exactly DTx is and how to use it. Industry professionals noted concerns around data management and privacy as the top barrier to pharma companies developing DTx, so it makes sense that specialist digital pharma companies and tech start-ups are perceived as the best positioned to develop and market DTx moving forward. That said, big pharma has the expertise in delivering therapeutic interventions to patients via prescribers, so there still exists great potential for pharma partnerships with tech.

The last session of the day was a panel discussion reflecting on the various changes we’ve had to embrace as a result of COVID. Virtual was a key theme, from remote interviews to remote working and the benefits and challenges that come with each. How to retain the attention of respondents and employees remains a challenge, though there is hope that hybrid engagement will help alleviate some of the challenges faced in virtual only. The panel recommended engagement with the insights community and mentorship, both in seeking out mentors and then acting as a mentor to give back and continue to move our profession forward.

Day two: 

The second day kicked off with an update on the Trends & Future Committee, with a brief peek at the results from the most recent survey they conducted.

The day’s sessions kicked off with a roundtable discussion on leveraging real world data in creating segmentations. The panel discussed challenges in effectively rolling out segmentation strategies in healthcare – Facebook limiting health targeting, off-the-shelf information available for targeting likely not including the level of detail of the segmentation, and encompassing your segmentation across all touchpoints (e.g. in-office handouts, product website, rep details, etc.). Particularly fascinating was the use of existing real-world data beyond the typical demographics. For instance, including metrics on where one grocery shops, the type of car they own, likelihood to eat gluten free, and debt obligations can help drive a more targeted activation plan for patients, however for physicians that is a much more challenging proposition. As data privacy laws continue to evolve, I will be curious to see how the practicality and ethics of this level of targeting play out.

The next session focused on medication adherence strategies. With estimated adherence rates across major chronic therapeutic categories being only around 50%, this is a key issue brand teams are facing and the session provided a number of practical recommendations on how to assess and improve adherence rates. The speaker noted that there could be a potential for 25-30% revenue increase by improving adherence, so understanding adherence rates is crucial, as it may be a better strategy to focus on adherence rather than hiring more reps, for example. He spoke to the components of adherence – compliance (taking the product as prescribed) and persistence (taking medication through period of time X) and patient flow segments (i.e. continuing treatment, new to treatment, switched to/from) – and recommended customizing the definition to your specific product of interest. For instance, some medications require an initial in-office dose followed by at-home dosing, so it is important that your measurement of adherence for your product accounts for that, to enable better optimization of strategy to improve adherence.

The next session talked about using the Health Information Behavior framework in patient journey studies to provide a more nuanced and detailed perspective, and consequently to paint a more accurate picture of the healthcare decision-making process. People have different attitudes towards health and health information, which can be due to a variety of demographic and individual characteristics such as age, gender, education level, literacy level, and health status, among others. These attitudes contribute to the formation of their health orientation, and ultimately to their health information behaviors. Speakers from SKIM, a global insights agency, defined health information behavior as the totality of intentional, unintentional, as well as avoiding behaviors towards health information, including both mediated as well as interpersonal interactions. The speakers talked about how understanding and studying the health behaviors of a sample, such as assessing when patients are most likely to seek health information, can provide valuable insights about information touchpoints within the patient journey. These touchpoints can then be leveraged in concrete recommendations to provide tailor-made communication strategies and engagement opportunities for pharmaceutical companies.

An especially emotionally impactful session looked at how technology is being used at home by patients with mobility and dexterity issues, and included a speaker from FARA (Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance). He spoke to his experience in living with Friedreich’s Ataxia and, hearing how meaningful participating in the market research was to him was an incredibly touching reminder of how all of the work we do is ultimately helping to improve the lives of people suffering with illnesses.

The two-day event concluded with a session on the importance of data visualization, including tips and tricks on how to bring your findings to life. With our ever-increasing need for fast, clear results, this was a great reminder of how to communicate key insights effectively via clear visuals.

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