To boost patient adherence (and product revenues), engage nurses

Dana Jennings of the New York Times makes an interesting observation about nurses and doctors in his blog “In Praise of Nurses” —

To generalize: Nurses are warm, whereas doctors are cool. Nurses act like real people; doctors often act like aristocrats. Nurses look you in the eye; doctors stare slightly above and to the right of your shoulder. (Maybe they’re taught to do that in medical school?)

Not to cut doctors down (and I’m sure Dana didn’t mean to either), but the unfortunate reality is that our “healthcare system” doesn’t really facilitate discussions between patients and doctors on many key issues (i.e. they are not reimbursable items). Nurses, on the other hand, are not running on this billing clock (thankfully!). As Rebecca Hendren concludes in “To Boost Patient Satisfaction Scores, Engage Nurses“:

Changing the nature of the conversation and involving nursing in the solutions may make more difference to patients emotional and physical care—and thus the patient satisfaction scores—than any gourmet food tray ever could.

Rebecca’s article was particularly referencing hospitals, so allow me to reference another healthcare player — the pharmaceutical.

For far too long sales forces (e.g. physician detailing) have focused on doctors. So, if you want to get in the door with a treatment, for example, yes, by all means talk to doctors — after all, they are ones who have to write the prescription.

However, if you want to get the patient to continue using the product, engage nurses. They might tell you some interesting things about the treatment — administering “tips and tricks”, things to remind patients to do before and after, how patients really feel … [if you are a nurse, please chime in!] … because I think that what Dana was strongly inferring is that patients have a different relationship (perhaps better, less intimidating, more personal) than they do with their doctors. So, use it!

Boxcutters Jewel #1232 – To boost patient adherence (and product revenues), engage nurses.

2 Responses to “To boost patient adherence (and product revenues), engage nurses”
  1. see, now heres someone who has a head on their shoulders!

  2. I think the industry overlooks the value that both nurses and PAs play in supporting patients and helping them manage their health. Both are trained to keep the patient at the center AND both have the time to devote to patient care. The challenge is that Rxs do not trace back to either easily, thus rendering any measurement of their impact to the industry not well quantified.I am not an expert o IMS or other data sources used by both the pharma and insurance industries but I am sure there are ways to measure this impact.

    I do think as the pharma focus is with prescription/patient acquisition, it is time to place a lot more focus on patient/prescription retention. Bring on the nurses!

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