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How to Leverage Real-World Data in Your Commercial Strategy

By Lance Wolkenbrod

In the past few years, real-world data (RWD) has become an increasingly important element of a successful market access strategy. By blending claims and lab data with clinical pathway and payer coverage data, pharma companies can get full visibility into what’s happening in the market.

But how, exactly? What can a unified source of RWD reveal about the patient journey? And, most importantly, how can manufacturers use those insights to expand patient access to their therapies? The key to harnessing RWD lies in timing and integration. Unified data speeds analysis, which means pharma companies can quickly answer not only their initial query, but also their follow-up questions.

Here are eight crucial questions that RWD can answer, and why they matter:

1. What does our patients’ journey look like?

Knowing how many patients exist within a given therapeutic class—and how those patients progress through testing and specialists to receive a diagnosis and begin therapy—is essential.

With unified data, manufacturers can track relevant biomarkers or testing results, and answer questions such as: What is the average length of treatment? How are outcomes measured? How are HCPs managing these patient populations? How do clinical pathways drive treatment decisions? What are the current NPI referral patterns, and when does a patient move from a community setting to a hospital setting? How does access impact utilization? With a complete view of the patient journey over time, manufacturers can determine their best areas of opportunity for targeted interventions.

2. How do we stratify our patient population?

Using integrated lab, claims and market access data, manufacturers can identify and segment a starting cohort of patients by age, disease severity, testing results, and other markers to determine where the largest number of newly diagnosed patients are and will be—and which physicians are treating them.

While claims data can retrospectively identify diagnosed patients, lab data can identify patients before diagnosis—and help pharma companies follow disease progression. Manufacturers of second- or third-line therapies can track certain tests and results to identify adverse events or the deterioration of a patient’s condition. With longitudinal lab data, manufacturers can use trigger events to isolate the patients who are now ready for their therapy.

3. Where are our patients being treated?

Many manufacturers assume that the largest populations include the most patients, but that isn’t always true. Integrated RWD can reveal not only where patients are being treated, but where opportunity exists. By defining the regions with the highest number of prime potential patients, manufacturers can fine-tune their physician engagement strategies to drive prescriptions.

Mapping geographic concentrations of your patients can also be valuable for post-market health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), manufacturing and distribution strategies, and other purposes. For example, a manufacturer that needs to qualify and train a center to administer their product might need to prioritize which region to focus on, given the number of eligible patients in the area, the severity of their illness, the concentration of specialists, and the patients’ existing insurance coverage.

4. How can we identify new healthcare providers and health systems?

While manufacturers already know which centers of excellence (COEs) treat a given condition, they do not typically have visibility into all the HCPs involved with a population. Defining the second- and third-tier institutions and community hospitals that are relevant for a patient population can provide strong value for manufacturers.

Normalized lab data sets aggregate tests and results from commercial labs as well as IDNs and hospital labs, which provides full visibility into patients who may be tested both in inpatient and outpatient settings. By understanding which HCPs and health systems are treating patients, manufacturers can improve access for their drugs.

5. How can we target the right physicians at the right time?

Integrated RWD—and especially lab alerts—can help manufacturers target physicians who are likely to make a prescribing decision soon, because they are currently trying to diagnose a potential patient.

RWD can also show which physicians are testing for a disease but treating patients with a competitor drug or the wrong therapy, or physicians who are not conducting relevant tests for a patient population. By investing in targeted education initiatives with these physicians, manufacturers can turn the tide and broaden access to their therapies.

6. How do clinical pathways impact our utilization?

With integrated RWD, manufacturers can see how many patients at the right stage of a disease are being treated by a specific hospital system. They can determine which of these patients have coverage for their therapy but aren’t receiving it, and they can explore how access barriers are impacting utilization.

Integrated RWD lets pharma companies answer questions like these: What is the total addressable market for a particular institution, and when do patients first enter its sphere of influence? Is an institution’s pathway limiting a product’s utilization? How are competitors placed on the pathway? Which institutions or COEs should a manufacturer focus on, and who are their key decision-makers?

7. Which specific payers should we contract with?

Knowing which payers to contract with is a common challenge. Will contracting even be beneficial for a particular drug, given its competitive landscape? For example, manufacturers of a second-to-market therapy need to know which payers have made a preferred coverage decision, which have reauthorization criteria, and which still have an unmet need for the relevant indication. By identifying patients, determining their insurance coverage, and triangulating with a competitor’s launch uptake and utilization, a second-to-market manufacturer can target the optimal payers for contracting discussions.

8. Why are we losing market share?

Manufacturers often spend a significant amount of time and money negotiating formulary placement and coverage with payers. But sometimes, a payer’s written policy doesn’t match the market reality. For example, a manufacturer of a generic product might not understand why they are losing market share to another generic product, which is the exact same drug in different packaging.

With integrated RWD, manufacturers have a granular view into the reality of market access. They can quickly determine which payers have contracted with a competitor and are receiving steep rebates for favorable access.


To see how integrated RWD can answer your questions, learn more about MMIT’s real-world data capabilities, including our Patient Access Analytics and Lab Data for Commercial Targeting solutions.

© 2024 MMIT
Lance Wolkenbrod

Lance Wolkenbrod

Lance Wolkenbrod is the Senior Director of Commercial Solutions at MMIT.

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