5 Key Considerations for Implementing Digital Technologies to Support Patients in China
Patient support is a hot topic in the life sciences space. Healthcare providers are consistently looking for ways to improve patient care and better support patients’ needs. In our previous post, we discussed how China was paving the way in leveraging digital health technologies to better support its huge patient population.
For life sciences companies operating in China, it’s important to fully understand the market before implementing or developing these innovative technologies. In this post, we’ll outline five key considerations that will help you support patients in China.
1. Content Readiness
It is essential to have content in the local language, either prepared in the language directly or translated from a different source. Patients that can both read and comprehend information in their native language are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their health choices.
For patient-facing content, ensuring it is easily understood by patients from diverse backgrounds is crucial. The content should not only be translated, but also be adapted to fit local cultural nuances to effectively engage patients. Content readiness is a precondition for the points that follow this section.
2. Digital Readiness
Many life sciences companies are playing catch-up with the digital health trend. They often must decide between updating existing content and creating brand new digitally native content.
Here are some of the top options companies consider when improving their digital readiness:
Is your site adapted in the local language and optimized to rank well on search engines in local markets? Research shows that most users check only the top few results in their search.
With an effective SEO strategy, your website can appear in one of the top positions for your target keywords, allowing your audience to easily find and visit your website.
Video is the new trend for digital health. With the widespread surge of video content on websites and social apps such as TikTok, companies must have video content in Chinese to be competitive in the market landscape.
Video format for medical content can be much easier to follow and understand for patients. For instance, pediatric patients are more likely to understand their illness and treatment after watching a short, engaging video.
For videos created or adapted in China, ideally the entire video would be in Chinese. However, there are also options for subtitling or voiceovers if the existing video is in another language.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming more and more popular for clinical trials. Do you have an app that works with patient devices? This can be a phone, wearable technology, or other portable devices.
You should consider different device options at the beginning of the R&D stage of the app. If your app is not developed in the local language originally, localization would be the next step to consider.
3. Medical Information Education and Sharing
Beyond websites, there are numerous ways for life sciences companies to share medical information with patients. Depending on insights gained through market research, companies may consider the following:
• Using TikTok videos to develop your brand
• Developing an official WeChat account (which supports both regular content and video sharing) to raise brand awareness and build brand loyalty
• Running content distribution on Zhihu and other leading medical forums (such as dxy.com or drovice.cn) to share information regarding their products and services
4. Data Solutions
There are a few different data solutions life sciences companies can leverage to improve patient support. Chatbots trained on big data and customized for life sciences’ services and products should be a key consideration.
This is particularly true for China, where there are massive amounts of data available to improve chatbot performance. This enables life sciences companies to provide better real-time patient support.
Wearables have also been widely used in clinical trials, making 24/7 patient monitoring possible. Through data collection, annotation, machine learning, and data analysis, companies can provide customized patient support. Additionally, patients are able to proactively manage their own disease through friendly reminders from their wearable technology to build a healthier lifestyle.
As those in life sciences learn to cope with the new challenges of the pandemic and ensure normal medical supply distribution, online pharmacies are witnessing rapid development of e-commerce in China. This is thanks to a growing number of consumers choosing to buy medicines via web platforms, such as JD Health. By leveraging e-commerce platforms, life sciences companies are better positioned to support patients remotely.