Almost two years ago, IQVIA announced the Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE), an effort to provide a 360° view of healthcare providers (HCPs) for marketing, medical affairs and other HCP-facing functions of pharma companies. Now, in a similar direction (if not with similar underlying technology), the company has announced the Orchestrated Patient Engagement (OPE), which will explicitly connect patients (who have opted in, via a mobile app) with pharma.
A key part of OCE is a collaboration with a company called Belong.Life, which claims to be the “world’s largest digital social network for cancer patients and caregivers,” with, according to press reports, some 200,000 users who have downloaded its app. The app, “Belong-Beating Cancer Together,” is a free patient-navigation tool that is intended to provide patients with information on cancer care, and to share clinical information; a related resource is available for healthcare organizations to engage with patients. In partnership with IQVIA, the Belong.Life platform will ceate “unique advantages and [drive] value throughout the commercialization process. For instance, OPE provides access to information for patients during the pre-launch phase, empowering life sciences customers to develop a deep understanding of patient needs. At launch, OPE delivers hyper-targeted awareness campaigns to patients who joined the program,” according to the IQVIA announcement.
The IQVIA announcement doesn’t mention that, according to one source, IQVIA was the lead investment partner in a $14-million Series B funding round for Belong.Life, completed in July. IQVIA says that OCE will up and running in the US in Q4.
Direct contact between pharma and patients is, of course, possible, although the bulk of such communications are usually handled by third parties, such as patient-support hub providers, or patient-assistance programs. Many patients do not want to have their care observed by pharma at all. At the same time, the pharma industry is eager to acquire data on patient outcomes, or to support patient adherence. Whether programs like OPE will affect this dynamic remains to be seen.