Signals Analytics is now part of the Kenshoo family!

Learn more
Request a Demo
Contact us

Beyond The Pill: How Pharma is Working to Address Patient Experience

Media Inquiries

Pharma companies will always be judged first and foremost based on the effectiveness of their drugs to treat intended conditions—but the consumer healthcare experience will continue to play an increasingly important role.
The healthcare industry is experiencing a shift from volume-based treatment to value-based treatment, which is having a negative effect on traditional revenue streams.

Beyond the pill efforts are meant to give pharma companies new means of earning revenue from increasingly value-conscious consumers. According to Novartis CEO, Joe Jimenez, beyond the pill is all about "creating value by embedding products into a holistic offering with the goal to improve patient outcomes and provide tangible competitive advantages.”

How can Big Pharma companies measure how they are improving their patient lives?

Although there are many opportunities for pharma to innovate beyond the pill, measuring success is a universal challenge without a definitive answer. To gain a better understanding of how successful your beyond the pill efforts are, you need to define which metrics you will use to measure success.

How Do You Define Beyond the Pill Success?

There are many possible answers to this question, but beyond the pill success can loosely be defined as improving consumer engagement.

Studies show that when patients play an active role in the management of their disease, hospitalization rates and complications are minimized. one study also shows that patients with low engagement levels had predicted average costs that were 8% higher in the base year and 21% higher in the first half of the next year than the costs of patients with the highest engagement levels.

When the goal of beyond the pill efforts is to improve patient lives, this research shows that improving consumer engagement is the way to achieve that goal. However, the “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” saying rings true for pharma companies looking to improve consumer engagement and patient outcomes.

After defining success as increasing consumer engagement, you can choose metrics that make the most sense for your beyond the pill program to measure that success.

How Do You Know if Your Beyond the Pill Efforts Are Valuable for Patients?

Innovating beyond the pill often leaves executives wondering, “What’s in it for me?” It’s almost impossible to calculate the ROI of many beyond the pill initiatives, so measuring success would seem unclear at best. Rather than focusing on direct sales impacts, many pharma companies focus on consumer engagement as opposed to direct sales impact.

For example, multi-national pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk decided to sponsor an all-diabetes professional cycling team, Team Novo Nordisk, as a beyond the pill initiative. The goal of the initiative isn’t to drive sales, but rather to inspire, educate, and empower people affected by diabetes. To measure success, Novo Nordisk focuses on consumer engagement across social media channels:

  • Nearly 2 million Facebook page likes (53% growth since May 2015)
  • 210,000 Twitter followers (a 40% increase since April 2015)
  • Over 125,000 views on YouTube videos
Team Novo Nordisk is just one example of a beyond the pill program that is considered successful. However, not every program’s success can be measured by social media engagement. Pharma companies must determine their own metrics for success when considering beyond the pill efforts.


There isn’t a definitive answer to the challenge of measuring beyond the pill initiatives, but you should gather your team and think about the question that lies at the heart of any beyond the pill effort—how can we measure improvements to patient lives? Is it greater self-confidence? A better social life? Improve understanding of a chronic illness? The feeling of regaining control of their lives?

These questions can’t be answered with sales metrics. What do you think should be the outcome of your beyond the pill initiatives and how do you think you can best measure it?

Big Data is Essential for Identifying Consumer Needs
If you ask pharma executives why they are innovating beyond the pill, they will most likely say the goal is to improve patient outcomes—even though this improvement is ambiguous at best. There might not be a definitive answer to the need for beyond the pill metrics for success, but there are ways you can better address the needs of your consumers. Through data intelligence, Signals Analytics cross-analyzes consumer sources (social media) with non-social sources of external publicly available information – patents, academic publications, industry reports, and product databases to name few – and connect thousands of data points to deliver clients with a deeper understanding of market opportunities and consumer sentiments.

The growing big data opportunity is enabling companies to collect data about their consumers in ways that were never thought possible. The key is to use this data to truly understand what consumers want, and address those needs with your beyond the pill efforts. Addressing consumer needs beyond simply treating their illnesses will drive engagement and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

If you want to learn how the Signals data analytics platform can help you harness the power of big data to better target your beyond the pill efforts, contact us today for a free demo.

Written by Roee Hartuv
Roee Hartuv is a Senior Account Manager at Signals Analytics, a Decision Science as a Service company, that enables global organizations to continuously experience the “aha moment” through Signals Playbook™, a cloud-based analytical intelligence platform that transforms the world’s unconnected data into actionable insights to enhance customer experience, optimize product portfolio health and propel innovation. He has extensive experience in leveraging big data for strategic decision-making: in his prior role as Head of Professional Services at Windward, an advanced analytics company, Roee specialized in pairing client challenges to the appropriate analytics and software solutions. Roee also has concrete new product development experience, as he has been a Program Manager for Elbit Systems and oversaw their product development pipeline. Prior to joining the workforce, Roee was a combat pilot for the Israeli Air Force. He holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a BA in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzeliya

Media inquiries

Chris Thatcher
5W Public Relations 646-430-5161
Reach out

Business inquries

Let's Talk