April 23, 2015. Columbus, OH. Doctors are the decision-makers. They recommend treatment plans that are based on their own expert preferences. Right?

Not always. According to Manhattan Research, “Physicians tell us one in two of the scripts they write are not based on their clinical preference.”

Wait, if the decision isn’t always the doctor’s, then whose is it? In many cases, C-levels of integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs) are influencing prescribing behavior.

Why are C-levels involved in the decision? Organizations like ACOs have new metrics driven by patient outcome. These measures affect their shared shavings across the network. Then, there’s also the applied concept of population health, which means that all of the providers in the organization are responsible for all of the patients in the organization. So, instead of one office caring for 300 patients, it’s 10 providers caring for 3,000. And, the financial incentives are linked to the outcomes of the entire population.

With all of this shared accountability comes the inclination for centralized decision making. “Decision-making is getting stripped out of the point of care,” Manhattan Research VP of Research Monique Levy said at the ePharma Summit in New York City.

It’s a big deal for pharma. For 20 years, we’ve been talking primarily to the doctor. Now we have a new set of audiences to consider with different goals, larger stakes, and a broader reach. Sanofi even created a new role: Chief Patient Officer. Her focus: patient outcomes. This ranges from ensuring that drugs are doing their jobs to supporting initiatives that result in healthy patients – from devices and apps to services and internal processes.


Brands are shifting “from selling drugs and therapies, to selling holistic condition management, whether that means apps, wearables, or other forms of patient engagement. There’s lots of these examples of individual pharma companies partnering with individual technology providers and [mobile health] and it’s great, but it’s not enough. It’s not big enough. We have to figure out how to make a dent in healthcare with these dynamics.” – MobiHealthNews

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.