PARSIPPANY, N.J., Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical companies are focusing on more unique approaches in the development of educational and experiential solutions for their health care customers at medical conferences, according to Joe Scrocco, chief executive officer of OneWorld, Inc., a leading pharmaceutical consulting firm.
With the introduction of the revised PhRMA Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals (Jan. 1, 2009) , plus increasingly complex state restrictions on remuneration to health care professionals, exhibit booth traffic at annual health care association meetings has decreased significantly despite steady overall registration. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are implementing more interesting and highly relevant approaches to attract, engage and exchange information with health care professionals.
OneWorld has been successfully helping them accomplish that objective through its bi-directional information-exchange solutions which link all members in the continuum of health care delivery including medical professionals and their patients.
"The movement within the pharmaceutical companies, especially those forward-thinking industry leaders, is to create a strong focus on patient outcomes looking at the continuum of health care delivery and the patient as a whole," said Scrocco. "There needs to be an emphasis on exchanging information among all members of the health care delivery system from doctors and nurses all the way to caregivers and educators. All health care-focused experiences should fit into this information-exchange strategy because ultimately, health care is all about patient outcomes."
At a recent rheumatology conference, OneWorld's educational and experiential business unit developed a highly creative and engaging interactive "experience station" for one of its top 20 pharmaceutical clients, which offered rheumatologists the opportunity to gain a greater insight into the everyday challenges of their patients.
The booth contained six experience stations, each containing a sink and faucet with running water, a laundry detergent bottle and a real functioning taxi cab door. Each participating health care professional was guided through the in-booth activities by a trained pharmaceutical sales representative, who asked them to turn on the faucet, open the laundry detergent bottle and then the cab door. The difficulty opening the faucet and cab door was measured subjectively using a 100-point visual analog scale (VAS), similar to the scale used to assess rheumatoid arthritis patients in several disability indices. A typical response averaged 80 VAS units, indicating little or no difficulty. The difficulty opening the laundry detergent bottle was measured by a sophisticated, concealed digital torque gauge, similar to units used in clinical trials. Each participant's results were shown on a personal computer display.
Then, to provide the rheumatoid arthritis specialists with insight into the everyday functional challenges of their patients, they were given special Arthritis Simulation Gloves developed by Georgia Tech University and asked to perform the three activities again. This changed things considerably. The gloves were developed to simulate the reduced functionality, like that of a rheumatoid arthritis patient, making the activities significantly more difficult. The ratings dropped from an average of 80 to 30, a drastic decline.
"The impact of the Arthritis Simulation Gloves exceeded our expectations," said Elizabeth Weldon, Research Scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute. "Allowing convention attendees to perform daily activities with and without the gloves, and then providing a visual comparison of those experiences, helped to reinforce the message that arthritis is more than just painful joints. It is the most common cause of disability in the United States."
The data collected from an exit survey conducted with each participant, indicated that more than 96 percent of U.S. physicians rated the experience exceptional to very good. Of the international medical professionals, 91 percent rated the experience exceptional to very good. A total of 98 percent surveyed said they agreed or strongly agreed that the experience was helpful in demonstrating their patients' difficulty in performing everyday activities. And, 92 percent said they were likely to visit the booth at future association meetings.
"The primary purpose of the experience was a bi-directional exchange of information, emphasizing that treatment of pain should be only part of the patient's treatment plan," said Scrocco. "Avoiding joint deterioration and the resultant decreased mobility, possibly through the addition of biologics, should also be a major focus."
As part of the program, OneWorld developed a custom-packaged set of 24 specifically designed Web keys for participating health care professionals to educate their patients and caregivers. This Web-based program allows patients to become involved in their own treatment and outcomes through the use of proven methods of diet, exercise as well as an understanding of the importance of medication compliance. The set also includes a USB Web key which can be used by the physician's staff to train patients and caregivers in the office or hospital setting.
About OneWorld, Inc.
OneWorld, Inc. is a leading pharmaceutical consulting firm headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, with offices in New York City, Shenzhen, China and Copenhagen. The company's solutions from its educational and experiential business unit currently support nearly 100 brands in all therapeutic areas at more than 600 exhibit booths at domestic and global medical association meetings annually. Led by a highly knowledgeable management team, OneWorld's educational and experiential business unit is committed to assisting client companies by: 1) Developing highly interactive, fully-segmented, brand-focused, information-exchange interactions within the exhibit booth; 2) Creating memorable, in-booth experiences that communicate complex messages; and 3) Developing effective post-event educational solutions for health care professionals and their patients, which involve the patients in their treatment and outcomes. For more information, go to www.oneworldinc.com.
SOURCE OneWorld, Inc.