Get more from your ATU
Patrick Angelastro, Director, Marketing, U.S., Offering Development
Nov 13, 2017

In the highly competitive biopharmaceutical marketplace, effective marketing can make or break a brand.  To ensure their marketing efforts deliver desired ROI, biopharma companies need to understand how physicians learn about their brand, why they choose to use it, and what obstacles stand in their way. That’s where ATUs come in.

Awareness Trial and Usage (ATU) studies have long been a cornerstone of healthcare market research for promoted brands. As the name implies, these studies track how physicians become aware of a product, when they try it for the first time, and whether their usage continues.

But as the biopharma ecosystem grows more complex, with new stakeholders, targeted therapies and increased patient involvement in care decisions, the ATU research model needs to go further.

Biopharma companies traditionally rely on a single study to answer all of their ATU questions. These studies typically consist of an online survey asking physicians to recall their knowledge and perceptions of a product as well as their experience with it.  While this is a useful way to gauge awareness and attitudes, it doesn’t fully address the broader issues that influence prescribing behavior and ultimately drive market performance.

Visibility within and across the ecosystem is required to determine the true drivers and barriers of a biopharma brand’s usage.  It starts with whether a physician is aware of the product.  From there, biopharma companies need to go further to understand the underlying influences on physician behavior, whether that behavior is altered by access and affordability factors, and how these market forces interact and result in patient therapy.  For these insights, companies require more comprehensive and connected data that can help them take targeted actions to improve commercial performance.

Integrated ATU

IQVIA, formed through the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, offers a broad range of solutions that harness advances in healthcare information, technology, analytics and human ingenuity to drive healthcare forward.  These solutions include a collection of innovative primary research offerings delivered by IQVIA’s Primary Intelligence team.  A great example of this research-fueled innovation is the evolution of the traditional ATU into a more robust model that gives biopharma companies more connected insights into the market performance of their brands.

IQVIA’s Integrated ATU is powered by the IQVIA CORE™, which combines big data, advanced technology, analytics and extensive industry knowledge. The integrated ATU combines the depth of custom survey response data with real-time feedback on industry promotion and its impact on treatment decisions captured by physicians at the point of engagement with sales reps and patients.  Then, it adds in market access and outcomes metrics from secondary data assets, including, medical and pharmacy claims, physician affiliations, and patient-level and consumer data (e.g. social media).

By bringing all of these data-driven insights together, biopharma companies can identify specific pain points across the ecosystem to help them overcome barriers to commercial success. For example, in a traditional ATU, if physicians are only asked about patient types in a limited way due to survey real estate constraints, a biopharma brand may be unable to see how complex patient factors are slowing its adoption.  However, a deeper dive into secondary patient and claims data as well as chart-like point-of-care treatment metrics would provide clear visibility into how HCPs are confining the brand’s usage to a narrow set of patient types they consider appropriate.  It is only when all three assets are combined that the data explains why brand performance isn’t meeting expectations.

Insights drive actions

This isn’t just a hypothetical model. We have already had several projects where detailed insights from the integrated ATU helped biopharma companies make direct changes to their marketing strategies to improve ROI.  For example, a client used integrated ATU data to recalibrate its physician and payer investments after comparing metrics related to new patient starts in the office versus those retained in the pharmacy, then comparing results across different geographies.

In another instance, integrated data was used to quantify the gap between physicians’ stated use captured through a survey and actual new patient starts as reported through the secondary data.  From there, we were able to dig into the data and break down the drivers of that gap to determine the specific corrective action needed.

Our integrated ATU studies are helping companies understand not only how physicians are behaving in response to their promotion, but also the attitudes, perceptions and beliefs underlying that behavior.  Then, by connecting this understanding to market outcomes through secondary data, clients have the comprehensive and connected visibility needed to improve brand performance.

Each integrated ATU is custom-designed to match brand strategy and the KPIs used to monitor in-market execution, enabling the tool to be used both for planning strategy and managing performance.  Its insights are tailored to enable brand teams to refine strategy and adjust tactics to capitalize on opportunities that exist for only a short time in a dynamic biopharma market. 

man and woman looking at screen
man and woman looking at screen

At a Glance: Integrated Awareness, Trial and Usage (ATU)

Primary Intelligence’s Integrated ATU leverages an unprecedented collection of data assets, research capabilities and therapeutic expertise to elevate the level of insight provided by your ATU.
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