What’s Pharma’s Key to Success in 2021?

By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH

What commercial and clinical trends can we expect to shape pharma and biotech as the pandemic continues into 2021? What can your company do to make 2021 a better year?

In August, Deloitte surveyed 60 marketing leaders of biopharma companies and published the findings. Fully 80% of respondents expected changes in “consumer attitudes, behaviors, and spending” to have the biggest impact on their company over the coming year.1,2

This supports Deloitte’s 2019 report anticipating a “consumer-centered future of health,” including the consumer’s increased willingness to share data as part of their decision-making.3

Because the big-impact changes involve consumer behavior, marketing research must focus on learning more about patient behaviors and needs, how they’ve changed, and how to address them with “explicit patient-centric strategies.” The Deloitte article continues:

As we wrote in an article on patient-centricity earlier this year, “companies should not only embrace [a patient-centric] approach, but prepare to participate in an emerging ecosystem where …the patient is at the center.”1

This trend requires technologies that facilitate data integration “so that patient data can be more easily used for holistic and longitudinal analysis of health outcomes.”1

Similarly, Silverline CRM identified the research needed in 2021: “Behavioral insights, research, and activity are all different pieces of data that must be combined to get a full, 360-degree picture of client needs.”3 They too acknowledged that success depends on data integration: the ability to access patient data easily and in one place.

Inspire Enterprise, Inspire’s suite of tools and technologies already enable this kind of holistic and longitudinal analysis. As we detailed in our previous Patient Pulse post (see “Does Your Marketing Campaign Go Full Circle?”), effective health communication demands a four-phase process that starts, continues, and ends with patient research. With Inspire, it is possible to obtain these marketing insights for message development, implement the campaign and conduct ATU research all in one place.

Inspire integrates layers of patient data to provide the kind of holistic picture needed to understand the patient experience in context. Starting with over 2 million members and 1.2 billion words of unstructured data, we have tools to perform analyses about treatments, symptoms, test results, behavior changes, and more.

That’s breadth of data; what about depth? By following one person in the Wilson’s Disease community, we find that person provided data about their basic demographics, the symptoms that were causing concern, tests taken and results, and treatments sought and received. The dates of posts provide the timeline over which each of those events happened. That’s a holistic picture of a patient journey in depth, and it is integrated in a single source: Inspire.

On the clinical side post COVID-19, IAG (Image Analysis Group) wrote that successful trials will rely on a wider geographic spread. They also believe that some trials will be making decisions using smaller data sets, with new technologies and changes in the collection of PROs “…supporting accelerated objective decisions on drug performance.”4 As described in our post “Top 5 Ways Online Patient Communities Can Reduce the Cost of Clinical Trials,” online patient communities are key to clinical trial development: Inspire members self-identify as to disease group; over 60% express interest in clinical trial participation; and are already geographically distributed, so there’s less burden on researchers for finding participants. For those in rare disease research, Inspire’s Rare Disease Communities offer patient intelligence throughout the patient journey through mixed methodology research with Inspire’s integrated platform.

Success in 2021 requires layers of diverse patient-centric data that can be analyzed using validated tools. Inspire’s 2.2 million members and 10 million visitors a year provide intimate data about the patient journey over time. They show a remarkable willingness to share not only their concerns and questions, they also detail their treatments, test results, symptoms, and progress.

Inspire’s researchers use survey and screening data, validated patient-reported outcome tools, and Natural Language Processing technologies, among others, to reveal the Real World Evidence needed in 2021 and beyond. Inspire’s trusted relationship with members makes access to varied and rare patient populations simple.

Pharma success in 2021 requires patient-centricity, an integrated source of layers of health data, an increasing relationship with patient advocacy groups, and a global presence. Inspire is already at the forefront of 2021’s success strategies for patient-centric pharma marketing and clinical research.

Download the ebook, “How Does Pharma Learn to Speak ‘Patient’? Volume 3 ”

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Inspire offers a trusted community to patients and caregivers.  Our goal with this blog, this website and our content is to provide the life science industry access to the true, authentic patient voice.  In so doing, we support faithful operationalization of patient-centricity.  Take a look at our case studies, eBooks and news outlet coverage.


2The next two were cyberthreats (70%) and advances in technology (68%).
4Knapp, M. “7 Pharmaceutical Industry Trends for Your 2021 Marketing Strategy.” Nov. 11, 2020. https://silverlinecrm.com/blog/healthcare/7-pharmaceutical-industry-trends-for-your-2021-marketing-strategy/