Not all pharma interactions with patients are deep dives. Sometimes pharma marketers just need quick patient insights or input.
That’s the gap WeGo Health is hoping to fill with its just-launched WeGo Health Experts platform. Traditionally, WeGo has served large pharma companies on projects that are in-depth and service-heavy with a team of experts assigned to connect healthcare organizations with some of its 100,000 digital patient leaders. The new Health Experts platform is more do-it-yourself, with less handholding and quicker turnarounds, and it allows any healthcare company to tap the company’s large patient network on-demand.
WeGo calls it flipping the patient—from subjects who are poked and prodded to professional peers with valuable information to share.
The biggest users so far are pharma marketing agencies, David Goldsmith, chief strategy officer at WeGo Health, said in an interview.
“Pharma isn’t prone to a DIY approach, but the agencies that work with pharma companies are early adopters of the platform because they want easy access to patients. They can specify the needs and nature of the engagement and the platform itself facilitates the match,” he said. “Projects are being fulfilled within 24 to 48 hours.”
Brandtrust in Chicago, for instance, used Health Experts when it wanted to interview patients with rare Gaucher disease on behalf of a pharma client. The agency hired a patient expert who has the disease through WeGo, and within three weeks, she had recruited and interviewed 24 patients. The price was right, too, with costs at about one-third of traditional recruiting efforts, Goldsmith said.
In a more recent case, an agency was looking to find five patients with non-small cell lung cancer to interview. That agency had already gone the traditional agency recruiting route, Goldsmith said, but had only come up with two patients in three weeks. When the agency hired a patient expert on the WeGo platform, it got five people within 12 hours.
Small pharma companies are also tapping the platform to look for patients to serve on advisory boards.
Companies can post opportunities on the WeGo Health Expert platform, to which patient experts can respond with a bid to get the work. Goldsmith said healthcare companies will often have several choices.
WeGo’s patient leaders engage an average of 15,000 followers per month and are three times more likely than typical health consumers to use health apps and five times more likely to write online reviews.