Using Digital Health to Avoid Disillusionment

For patients battling a serious illness or even a chronic condition, receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan can be a lot to swallow. Processing a complex treatment plan often creates questions, confusion, and uncertainty about what to expect. In many cases, patients are left to navigate this alone, but with the expansion of digital health tools, there are new options to make the transition from diagnosis to treatment less isolating.

Through the combination of digital health tools and advanced patient support services, moving from diagnosis to treatment is becoming easier and more personalized. Medisafe and Pleio recently launched a collaboration that uses telephonic patient advocates to help patients begin or return to medication therapy. The process uses telephonic support to help acclimate patients to treatment and then transition to Medisafe’s digital platform for ongoing engagement and support. This approach is helping to reduce patient disillusionment and more easily transition from diagnosis to empowerment.

Hype Cycle
In traditional settings, patients receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan can often experience what’s known as the ‘Trough of Disillusionment.’ Beginning with diagnosis, patients quickly attain a new heightened awareness of their diagnosis, collecting information and second opinions.  However, there is a peak of this activity where reality sets in and patients quickly fall into feelings of loneliness, despair, and the reality of living with a serious health condition. This is what’s called a ‘Trough of Disillusionment.’

To right course behavior, patients need to see a slope of enlightenment and a path forward that will empower them to manage their therapies in relevance to their life. This is known as the patient hype cycle and can take weeks or months for patients to move through. However, new digital tools along with patient advocates are helping to reduce the trough and move swiftly from awareness to engagement.

Digital tools with personalization
Digital health platforms help to integrate human interaction, live support, and personalized guidance in support of better patient engagement. But to create meaningful connection, digital health is moving beyond just a digital interface with a blended model that employ humans to connect patients to digital health tools.

In the example of Pleio’s GoodStart program, the program uses healthcare mentors to develop rapport, answer questions and guide patients on their therapy journey. The program then transitions patients onto the Medisafe platform which activates a digital medication management support program and supports patients throughout their journey. This human-to-digital handoff creates a more personal and engaging experience that ensures support for patients’ lives.

The Human-Digital connection
Encouraging patients is a complicated process.  There are many stand-alone processes that can help at certain intervals but can be limited in reach. Pharma has robust programs to support patients but moving from diagnosis to treatment and developing strong patient engagement can face huge barriers.

Assisting patients throughout their therapy journey requires an agile and nimble process, and a human touch. Using live patient mentors help reduce anxiety, lessen challenges to beginning therapy, and give credence to the issues of social, economic, emotional, and other outlying concerns that are part of the patient treatment process. The human-to-digital connection means that patients are no longer are isolated and have tools and support throughout their journey. It also helps to instill confidence in their recommended treatment and less likely to drop off from medication therapy. Patients also report that having support tools and personal advocates also helps to reduce white coat syndrome for follow-up visits.

By recognizing that patients aren’t linear points on a map, but rather complex individuals with fears and concerns about their health, and how treatment might impact their lives, we can begin to create a new experience that sees patients as people. Taking a human approach with digital support, the future model of patient care may avoid the trough of disillusionment altogether, and enable an environment where patients become more engaged and enlightened in their health.

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