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Vol 20, No. 11, November 2016   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
Kantar Health in Healthcare - Interview with Mr. Graeme Jacombs

With over 20 years' experience, Graeme is one of the most experienced pharmaceutical market researchers in the Asia Pacific region. After working at the Ministry of Health in London, Graeme started his market research career at a specialist healthcare agency in the UK. He later moved to New Zealand to join CM Research, which became TNS New Zealand. Graeme led the company’s healthcare specialty, working in a wide range of therapy areas including respiratory, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal disorders, vaccines, oncology and pain management.

Graeme has headed Kantar Health in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa since 2012. Based in Singapore, he leads a region-wide team in providing evidence based insights and consultancy services for healthcare clients to improve their business growth. Graeme has Masters degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and Medical Microbiology from London University.

1. Kantar Health is a leading global healthcare consulting and market research firm. Please share with us more about the business, focus area and market strategy of Kantar Health in healthcare industry.

If I had to sum up Kantar Health in a sentence, it is that we provide insights and evidence that enable healthcare and life sciences companies to accelerate their commercial, clinical, and brand decisions. Our aim is to be catalysts of successful decision making. This needs a wide range of skills, from market research consulting to commercial understanding to clinical and scientific expertise. Our strength is that we combine these capabilities across the product lifecycle, so that clients can successfully evaluate opportunities, develop brand strategies, launch products, and maintain brand and market leadership.

Our model is one of connectivity. We have teams of research consultants based in all the major Asia-Pacific markets, including China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia and India, working regularly with local and regional clients. These teams have an excellent understanding of their local healthcare system and genuine insight into the attitudes and behaviours of physicians, patients, payers and other key stakeholders in their respective markets. And we are backed by the resources of a large global organisation – including many methodologists, specialists in advanced analytics, epidemiologists, physicians and pharmacists, as well as former brand and commercial managers. It is this combination of deep local insight, effective regional coordination and expert global support that is at the heart of Kantar Health.

Kantar Health is part of WPP, which also includes many leading communication, PR and digital agencies. We regularly collaborate with sister companies such as Ogilvy CommonHealth, Grey Health Group, Sudler & Hennessey, Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller to provide life sciences companies with a truly integrated brand and communications strategy.

2. Kantar Health introduced the mobile survey app. How would the mobile survey app leverage mHealth Technology? What benefits can this app deliver?

Our mobile app will help us to give companies a deeper understanding of healthcare consumers and their needs and experiences. It allows us to conduct short market research surveys via a mobile phone, while passively collecting biometric and activity data from a wide range of mHealth and wearable devices. Other features of the app include the ability to collect picture and video content, barcode scanning and GPS/location capture.

This helps us to capture patient insights as close to the ‘moment of experience’ as possible, whether that experience is a pain attack, a meal or a doctor/patient consultation. This will help us to understand a patient’s treatment journey and product usage experiences, as well as measuring medication adherence and compliance and health outcomes.

While the app will leverage physical activity, sleep and gait data from wearable fitness trackers, we will also be able to collect and analyse biometric data such as blood glucose, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels and more as mHealth technology continues to evolve in terms of functionality.

3. What are some of the latest assessment/framework developed by Kantar Health?

A constant challenge facing healthcare companies is how to maximise the potential of their brands. In response, we have launched a new brand growth framework called PINNAKLE™. It is a framework for assessing how a brand is performing, what the potential opportunity for that brand is and what steps a company needs to take to realise that opportunity. Importantly, the framework is specific to healthcare, so it incorporates not only what doctors think about the brand and the impact of the company’s sales and marketing activities, but also strengths and weaknesses in market access. This helps companies to prepare for and track new product launches and also assess if existing brands are achieving their full potential– and importantly what actions to take if they are not.

4. Does Kantar Health partner with different organisations in research? Besides doing market research, what else is Kantar Health offering?

We regularly partner with other organisations, especially where this can give us access to valuable physician or patient-based data.

For example, in China for the last five years we have partnered with DXY, the country’s largest online physician community, to produce Digital Life Physician, a comprehensive study of doctors’ digital behaviour and changing uses of mobile and online channels.

In South Korea, we work with anonymised patient data from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA), which recently released its data for academic and pharmaceutical industry use. These data can be useful for marketing decision making, such as to understand a drug’s market potential through disease prevalence, treatment regimens and prescription patterns. The results have also been used as evidence when making pricing decisions with the government.

In addition, Kantar Health has partnerships with EMR and claims database providers, offering a global network of patient-level datasets in excess of 120 million records. This sits alongside our own proprietary databases, such as the National Health and Wellness Survey, which is the world’s largest self-reported patient database, covering 10 countries globally, including China and Japan.

These datasets are important for supporting real-world research and value, which is a growing part of our business. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies need to not only show the benefits of a product, but also to demonstrate its value. We provide payer insights, epidemiology, burden of illness, health economics and outcomes studies to help companies to identify, quantify and communicate the value of their products.

5. Does Kantar Health involve in vaccine development for recent outbreak of diseases such as Zika virus?

We aren’t directly involved in R&D, but we do provide insights and evidence which support the development and marketing of vaccines, most recently for dengue fever. Another example is working with a pharmaceutical company to understand the needs and challenges of health care professionals regarding Ebola, which is helping in the development of a vaccine.

6. What will be the contribution of Kantar Health business or market research on the economic growth in Asia Pacific?

I believe that we can make the biggest contribution to economic growth in Asia-Pacific by helping companies to better understand diseases and successfully develop and promote innovative healthcare solutions. This will not only help those companies to succeed and grow, but will also result in improved health outcomes for patients across the region. It’s a motivating challenge and one to which we’re very committed.

7. From your point of view, what will be the difference between current and future healthcare in Asia Pacific countries?

I think that one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of working in healthcare in Asia-Pacific is that it is constantly changing and I’m sure this is going to continue. Making precise predictions is difficult, but some trends that may help to shape the future are that:

Patients will become more vocal and influential – and companies will look to develop better ways of understanding their needs and engaging with them. Innovations in Mobile Health will offer new data sources and interesting possibilities in this area.

Sales models will continue to be challenged and companies will need to find new and innovative channels for communicating with healthcare professionals.

Increasing importance will be placed on the value of products, not just their cost, while affordability will remain a key challenge. It will be interesting to see how different countries approach this challenge, but there will be a greater need to substantiate value and this could be linked to risk sharing schemes between governments and companies.

One thing I’m confident of is that the healthcare market in Asia-Pacific will continue to be dynamic, challenging and full of opportunity.

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