How to harness the power of data for brand planning

Brand planning: Getting general biological brands established in a fast changing and cash-strapped NHS requires deep customer insight and a strong evidence-based strategy that will stand up to economic as well as therapeutic scrutiny.

Before developing its strategic imperatives, pharma must create a solid narrative built on robust data to fully understand the market. This involves amassing health economic evidence that will stand up to commissioner-level discussions, as well as clinical evidence.

Using data to map the route a patient must take to access a medicine is also crucial. For example, if a 12-hour drip is needed once a month, do hospitals have the funds and the capacity to administer the drug?

There are numerous datasets available that can provide valuable insights for brand planning and inform strategic direction. However, identifying these sources can be challenging for pharma and care must be taken to ascertain which data can be used for marketing purposes.

Key data

One key data source is Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) which contains records of all patients admitted to NHS hospitals in England. This targeted and granular data can be cross-referenced from multiple health and social care sources. 

It can also define and track patient cohorts, providing balanced, objective and outcomes focussed insights. However, pharma may only use this data for the planning process to demonstrate where there is benefit for patient care, if it is published under Open Government Licence (OGL). 

Other useful real-world data includes diagnostic imaging datasets and prescribing data from NHS Digital, which delves down to GP surgery level. Pharma should also consult data sources such as NHS RightCare, which has defined optimal patient journeys for various conditions. Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) – a national programme, led by frontline clinicians to help improve the quality of medical and clinical care within the NHS by identifying and reducing unwarranted variations in service and practice – is key too.

Target your activities

There are also many privately-owned data sources, including, for example, Wilmington Healthcare’s Specialist Share Data (SSD) for high cost drugs, which shows the share of patients by drug and indication at NHS trust level, enabling pharma to determine where
to best target its efforts.

By exploring the many and varied national data sources that are available, pharma can ensure that it understands the patient journey and where the touch points are and can show how its products can help to improve patient outcomes in line with NHS guidance on best practice.   

Tony Cox is Innovation Director for healthcare intelligence provider, Wilmington Healthcare.