Point of Care Engagement: Boosting Patient Access

In today’s increasingly diversified healthcare landscape, ensuring that the right patients have access to the right treatments at the right time is a critical challenge for pharmaceutical companies. Patient Access, ensuring that patients have timely and affordable access to needed therapies, is a key priority. Savvy healthcare marketers recognize the potential of point of care marketing strategies to support Patient Access (also called Market Access) goals that drive both patient outcomes and market success.

Patient and doctor talk about treatment and medication options and Patient Access

Understanding Patient Access

At its core, Patient Access in the pharmaceutical industry is about aligning “5 Rs”: delivering the right products to the right patients at the right time, place, and price (Access Health Policy, 2024). 

Patient Access is a multifaceted challenge that requires considering factors such as: 

  • Regulatory approvals 
  • Reimbursement policies 
  • Patient preferences, contexts, and barriers 
  • Healthcare system constraints 

When done well, Patient Access ensures that patients can readily access and afford the therapies they need to manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.

The stakes are high for pharmaceutical companies when it comes to ensuring effective Patient Access.

  • Bringing a new drug to market costs $2B USD on average
  • Over 33% of all new launches in the United States fail to meet expectations, primarily due to limited Market Access (Deloitte Insights 2022). 

Overcoming Patient Access Challenges

To overcome Patient Access challenges, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare marketing agencies should: 

  • Bring Patient Access perspectives and strategies in early and more centrally in the development process

  • Look to incorporating new stakeholders and partners to create a patient-centered messaging ecosystem and customization

  • Prioritize cross-functional collaboration and focus on the holistic patient journey rather than siloed products and approaches


Senior medical professional displaying pharmaceutical trial charts addressing patient access and market access and smiling warmly

According to Deloitte, Patient Access requires a nuanced, archetype-based approach that considers the unique characteristics of each product and the evolving needs of patients, providers, and payers. (Deloitte Insights 2022) By incorporating Patient Access perspectives early and more centrally in the development process, engaging a broader set of stakeholders, and prioritizing cross-functional collaboration, pharmaceutical companies can develop targeted strategies to demonstrate the value of their products and ensure timely, affordable access for the patients who need them most.

Point of Care marketing is an essential way to launch campaigns that align with Patient Access goals. Every point of care is a potential conversion moment in the marketing funnel that elegantly harmonizes patient needs and Rx knowledge at the exact time patients and healthcare providers are making critical care decisions. Whether in the quiet and private space of a medical office or the friendly and person-to-person space of a pharmacy, points of care are uniquely poised to focus messaging on the places where health decisions are made.

The Promise of Point of Care Marketing

Point of Care marketing bridges the gap between Patient Access strategy and implementation by engaging healthcare providers and patients at critical touchpoints throughout the care journey. As healthcare marketers, we do not manufacture needs; we identify them. And the better we do our jobs, the more we genuinely help the people who need our products and services. 

By providing valuable information and resources at the moments that matter most, we can:

  • Empower patients to take a more active role in their care
  • Support healthcare providers in their decision-making and care delivery

Here is how Point of Care tactics align: 

Patient Access Factors

POC Marketing Strategy

Right Products

Identify, evaluate, and communicate Rx options to healthcare providers and patients through diverse, highly-customizable tactics that increase accessibility.

  • Connect patients to their ideal Rx more effectively   

  • Inform HCPs about new Rx’s and indications within their workflow

  • Understand how products will interact with patient medications and fit into their life

  • Set expectations and make determinations based on side effects, dosages, and other potential barriers to adherence

Right Patients

Targeting the right patient for any Rx regimen is critical to driving effective, cost efficient health journeys.

Point of Care tactics can help identify the healthcare providers and patients who will benefit most from a specific Rx. The increase in accuracy can mean better marketing spend, increasing ROI and allowing better price setting in addition to ensuring patients have better prescription journeys. 

Right Time

Points of care span patient health journeys. Messaging to patients at the time they are thinking, communicating, and deciding on medical decisions helps patients and prescribers make the best decisions in a highly relevant and receptive environment. 

Right Place

Medical contexts add authority and trust to messaging. Not only is a medication ideally timed to the patient journey, it comes into that journey within context, allowing it to inform conversations and have any potential questions or concerns immediately answered.  

Right Price

Point of Care marketing can contribute to better results and adherence.

1. Getting more patients the right medications at the right time can drive better results and help increase reporting and perception of efficacy. 

2. Leveraging Point of Care tactics to identify and respond to cost concerns (couponing, rebates, pharmacy options) and other barriers can help tackle affordability. 

Simplify Point of Care Product Discovery

The Point of Care Marketing Association feels strongly about connecting healthcare and pharmaceutical brands and marketers to patients and healthcare providers most effectively. Our Product Finder tool empowers you to find the best point of care solutions for your marketing goals. Discover the right fit for your approach by selecting for the right: 

  • Certification status
  • Ideal healthcare setting(s) 
  • Target audience
  • Healthcare specialties or specialized locations to reach desired patients and/or HCPs when they need you 
  • Media tactics, including those that help identify and resolve cost concerns or barriers 

Tailoring Strategies to Specific Contexts

Of course, the specific tactics and messaging used in any given point of care marketing campaign need to be tailored to the unique contexts in which it will be deployed. As the authors of a recent review note, “economic, policy, societal, and technological contexts emerge as settings that tend to define Market Access process” (Access Health Policy, 2024). A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work.

Successful point of care marketers need to consider factors like: 

  • The structure of the local healthcare system
  • Prevailing cultural attitudes and beliefs about healthcare and medicine
  • The digital sophistication and health literacy of the target patient population
  • Impacts of care and conditions on message receptivity
  • Data around patient sets and experiences, including responsiveness to messaging types and media

Adaptive marketers have to think both more broadly and more nuanced to meet the changing healthcare audiences and the high level of variation in an increasingly disparate American landscape. Marketing strategies should adapt to different care settings, from busy urban clinics to isolated rural pharmacies, and different therapeutic areas. Look for holistic and connected marketing campaigns that follow patients across points of care by employing a variety of integrated point of care tactics and strategies, rather than checking a single box. 

One way of ensuring you are targeting correctly is not falling back on stale targeting criteria or overprotecting the ways HCP target lists are selected. Sharing lists or integrating agency or POC vendors who specialize in point of care tactics can help advance your marketing effectiveness dramatically, especially as new tools come into the scene, like AI-assisted targeting. From advances in EHRs to incorporating key underserved audiences at new points of care, looking outside the old archetypes and marketing models can triage ineffective marketing strategies that limit patient access and miss critical opportunity areas for manufacturers. 

To successfully adapt, expanding your marketing arsenal with a wide variety of external experts on these various care settings and locations is critical. Point of Care solutions have  evolved to understand the strategic nuances of locations, audiences, and specialities. Reach out to find out how they can help.

Patient Access being discussed between pharmaceutical representative and point of care specialist and doctor

Addressing Affordability and Pricing Concerns

Pricing and affordability concerns loom large. In many markets, high out-of-pocket costs and complex reimbursement processes can pose significant barriers to patient access, even for highly effective therapies (Access Health Policy, 2024). Point of Care marketing can play a valuable role in helping to communicate the value of treatments and support affordability – for example, by highlighting available patient assistance programs or facilitating prior authorization processes. 

Healthcare providers have openly shared that impacted workflows and limited visibility into both patient data and costs are areas that are damaging trust and adherence. A patient leaves the office, only to find they cannot manage the cost of their prescription. While frequently not reporting to the provider their cost concerns, they either do not fill prescriptions or alter their doses to save money. 

The right pricing can be helped dramatically by empowering healthcare providers and supporting patients through the point of care. Privacy concerns are less an obstacle through newer targeting technology, like wearables and self-tracking, than previously. So people are more open to healthcare apps and online Rx programs than they may have been before. Better understanding of what patients need and how to connect them to savings and access can make the marketing spend a worthwhile investment in patient access. 

Fostering Collaboration and Partnerships

Partnerships and collaboration will also be key. No single pharmaceutical company or marketing agency can tackle the Patient Access challenge alone. To truly move the needle on patient access, point of care marketers will need to work closely with healthcare providers, payers, pharmacies, patient advocacy groups, and other stakeholders. By pooling resources, expertise, and data, these collaborative efforts can help ensure that point of care strategies are not only effective but also scalable and sustainable over time.

For healthcare marketers and their brands, this may mean:  

  • Looking more holistically at portfolios and patient groups to create more effective support and access in highly targeted ways
  • Integrating agencies and experts who sell point of care solutions, into the earlier stages of marketing planning and strategy to better target audiences and leverage high-yield tactics
  • Looking across points of care to create more comprehensive marketing across critical care moments
  • Investing in custom content that is more frequently refreshed to activate point of care messaging

Key Patient Access Takeaways

  • Point of Care marketing can support Patient Access goals by connecting the right patients with the right treatments at the right time.
  • Strategies must be tailored to specific healthcare contexts and patient populations. Work with experts who sell Point of Care media and agencies to integrate point of care expertise into planning for higher marketing ROI.  
  • Addressing affordability and pricing concerns is critical for improving patient access, and can be facilitated through point of care tactics.
  • Collaboration with diverse stakeholders and across point of care touchpoints in the patient health journey is key for scalable, sustainable impact.

Final Thoughts

When executed thoughtfully and ethically, point of care marketing has immense potential to support both Patient Access objectives and broader patient health goals. By connecting the right patients with the right treatments at the moments that matter most, these strategies can help optimize care delivery, improve medication adherence and outcomes, and empower patients to play a more active role in managing their health.

For pharmaceutical companies, the benefits are also clear. Effective Point of Care campaigns can help drive appropriate uptake of therapies, build brand loyalty and trust, and improve patient outcomes. In an increasingly crowded and cost-conscious market, the ability to stand out through targeted, context-specific messaging at the point of care will only become more vital. 

Ultimately, the goal should be to develop point of care strategies that improve outcomes – for patients, for providers, and for healthcare systems as a whole. By keeping this patient-centric mission front and center, Point of Care marketing can become a powerful tool for Patient Access success and improved public health in the years ahead.

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    We are excited to collaborate with the POCMA and accelerate Point of Care education, marketing, communications and innovation to provide patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with credible, equitable health solutions so everyone, everywhere, can live longer, healthier lives.

    Kelly Cunha Pokorny

    National Director, Brand Marketing