The Highs and Lows, A Snapshot of Today’s POC Landscape

In my house, at the end of the day, we talk about our highs and lows. Recently I have been thinking about the POC3 Industry Summit I attended, and how well-executed events like these help us all come out of our professional silos and take a holistic look at the industry’s state of affairs. So, here are the “highs and lows” that captured my attention:

A “high” for me was …It’s so nice that POC is finally seen as a compelling platform to reach patients! At long last, the POC offering gets its own industry group and recognition. And rightly so, since healthcare-related POC spend could approach $1 Billion by 2025 – wow! Point of Care is deserving of a solid place in the marketing landscape and yes, it did feel like a “coming out party” but for an older debutante. Let’s not forget – Point of Care has been available for decades. It’s smart to reach patients when they are in the health mindset, or what we call the Mindset Moment®, which is all about reaching consumers when they are thinking about their health and considering solutions. It boils down to being open to doing good things for one’s health (great opportunities for Rx products but also great for OTC and beauty as well!). For marketers, maximizing your messaging in POC venues is a targeted approach that drives solid returns. We owe it to ourselves and to patients to lay out guidelines and rigor to ensure that the best is being provided in our industry. We must all “trust but verify” POC platforms. It will help ensure that all providers are playing on a level playing field.

This dovetails nicely into the second “high” of the event – the way that POC3 is addressing measurement and auditing in such a comprehensive way. For Rx EDGE, this area has always been a top priority. When the company first started doing business almost 20 years ago, we recognized the importance of using verifiable, quantitative metrics to gauge the success of each marketing program. So, we employed third-party partners to measure program results using a matched-panel protocol – the gold standard in marketing measurement. The Rx EDGE operational process is really second to none, and tightly buttoned-down. We work with a top-tier field force, and focus on training, quality assurance, and reporting to assure that our in-store programs are flawlessly executed and verified. And now with our Unlimited platform, which includes addressable digital media, we are extending these best practices into the digital realm. So naturally, we are pleased to be part of POC3 and its membership of like-minded professionals who share our desire to reach patients with integrity and full transparency. This is all a HIGH!

For me, the “low” was in the never-ending realization that a lot of the challenges we face in our industry are political. When something is political, time needs to be spent understanding the issue. It is important to understand the legislation being considered. Jon Bigelow, Executive Director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communications said very clearly, “If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu”, which means, we must all be aware. Alarming comments were made about the End Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Ads Act, an act cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen, Bernie Sanders, and 13 other Democrat Senators. This act aims to end the tax-deductibility of pharma marketing expenses. It would impact the industry’s current ability to provide valuable medical information to patients and doctors and has the potential to alter the world of POC – a low point indeed. The message was clear – pay attention.

In closing – let’s continue to place value in POC and our unique offerings. Please take the high road and ensure that platforms are reaching the right patients and professionals while remaining open to the necessity of auditing and validation. The end goal is to continue to provide valuable educational information to patients and professionals. Lastly, let’s all continue to support POC3, and be sure to remain educated concerning the issues that our industry faces today, tomorrow, and further down the road.