Early this morning, Pfizer and BioNTech issued a news release stating that the Phase 3 study of their MRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine met all primary efficacy endpoints. “Analysis of the data indicates a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% (p<0.0001) in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (first primary objective) and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (second primary objective), in each case measured from 7 days after the second dose,” stated the announcement. For those older than 65 years of age, the efficacy is reportedly over 94%.
No serious safety concerns have been reported by the Data Monitoring Committee for the study. According to the findings, “most solicited adverse events resolv[e] shortly after vaccination” – with 3.8% experiencing fatigue after their first or second dose and 2% recording headaches after their second dose. The FDA-required safety milestone for an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) has been met, and thus, the two companies plan to submit an EUA request to the agency in the coming days.
Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, issued a statement as per the news release: “The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic. We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world. With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world.”
Expressing a concurring sentiment, Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech stated: “We are grateful that the first global trial to reach the final efficacy analysis mark indicates that a high rate of protection against COVID-19 can be achieved very fast after the first 30 µg dose, underscoring the power of BNT162 in providing early protection. These achievements highlight the potential of mRNA as a new drug class. Our objective from the very beginning was to design and develop a vaccine that would generate rapid and potent protection against COVID-19 with a benign tolerability profile across all ages. We believe we have achieved this with our vaccine candidate BNT162b2 in all age groups studied so far and look forward to sharing further details with the regulatory authorities. I want to thank all the devoted women and men who contributed to this historically unprecedented achievement. We will continue to work with our partners and governments around the world to prepare for global distribution in 2020 and beyond.”
The news release added that Pfizer and BioNTech “expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.”
Over 200 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the country and the world are, at the very least, becoming normalized to the new normal. Kids are back in school, sports have returned and, depending on where you live, some restrictions may have been relaxed.
This more relaxed approach to life possibly in combination with the
cooler weather is resulting in a third surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in
the United States. According to John Hopkins data, the U.S. one-weekly daily average
of new cases is 101.8K as of Nov. 8, which is an increase of +114% from Oct. 8.
This uptick prompts the obvious question of how will patient traffic within the
doctor’s office be impacted?
Contrary to some expectations, the data suggest patient traffic is not affected by increasing incidence of COVID. Except for the late-March / mid-April timeframe, patient traffic and COVID numbers have moved independently of each other, as can be seen by the graph below. Patient traffic has steadily increased since mid-April even as the number of new COVID cases have fluctuated. People are again comfortable going about their lives and taking care of their daily needs.
Based on the data trend and the positive news regarding the success of
vaccine trials, the outlook for patient traffic and treatment going into 2021
is positive. We can expect patient office traffic across most specialties and
disease states to remain within normal seasonal levels. The possible exception
to this will be with acute illnesses primarily within primary care and
pediatrics as masks and social distancing may result in a milder cold and flu
For marketers, this means as much as things have changed, the future is looking very similar to what it did pre-COVID. As we are still seeing signs that practices are catching up on some of the delayed care from earlier this year, it is probably more important than ever that marketing plans are being made at scale.
At PatientPoint, we are continuing to work with our clients to access our market insights based on our data assets and analytical capabilities. Using these insights, we are able to better help brands plan, execute, and optimize in order to maximize the impact of their point-of-care campaigns.
There’s a lot of brand managers who prioritize patient engagement, but not many who really understand how patient ready their brand is. Let’s try and clarify what that means.
These days, brand marketers widely acknowledge how important it is to have a plan for engaging their patient communities. However, drawing up such a plan presents some challenges: Professionals need to reconcile competing goals, from financial constraints, to privacy requirements to legal, regulatory, and compliance considerations. Overcoming these hurdles requires a systematic situation analysis. Taking the time to do this will offer an overview of which resources need to be obtained, which are already available, and which can be improved for enhanced patient centricity. The result will be a foundational guide that helps you make strategic decisions based on the environment today.
While there may be tempting
shortcuts, doing it right is an opportunity to build solid relationships with
the patients your brand serves—a valuable asset for any brand. To build such a
relationship, brands need to make themselves patient ready. Why is that so, and
what does it even mean, to be “patient ready?”
Patient ready brands engage with patients in meaningful ways, with the right tone and content that’s authentic and in sync with people’s own experiences. Such a brand makes an effort to identify needs in the community and to find out whether others are already addressing those needs and in what way. A patient ready brand will then take measure of internal capabilities and resources, and match those to unmet needs still existing. Thus, we create brand value through patient value by communicating to a receptive audience in ways that resonate.
All good and well, but how do we
achieve this gold standard when facing educated and savvy patients? That really
depends on three dimensions that circumscribe what it means to be patient
Dimension 1: Understanding patient needs
Fundamentally, understanding the needs of patients and caregivers is at the heart of any patient ready assessment. At Snow, our proximity to many patient communities uniquely positions us to recognize and understand the importance of patients’ ever-changing needs. Our State of the Patient Study spans many different disease states and conditions to track the trends and behaviors across the patient journey. It also focuses on the experience gaps and issues with services and products currently available to them through pharma brands or other stakeholders. The community has concerns, expectations, and hopes—and research that focuses directly on your disease category, quantitatively and through first-hand interactions with patients themselves, can capture all of that. Insights such as these can guide a brand towards becoming a trusted and credible partner to the community.
Dimension 2: Understanding competitive benchmarks
Building on top of this foundation of thoroughly understanding the patient community, the next logical step is to explore the competitive landscape: What’s currently working, what isn’t? Which activities match expectations, which ones fall short? What’s the general sentiment towards competitor products and services? By finding answers to questions like these, we can set the benchmark: This is what it will take to keep up and to stand out among the competitors. It’s not about imitating all their good work while avoiding their mistakes. It’s about finding your brand’s unique role in supporting patients throughout their journey. It’s about positioning your initiatives in such a way they’re meeting a need, so you don’t have to create demand. Because the demand is already there, and you’ll be armed with evidence to prove it.
Dimension 3: Understanding resource requirements and availability
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: pharmaceuticals are highly regulated. Anyone engaged in marketing, especially directly with patients, must have a thorough understanding of the legal and regulatory rules that apply. They must also work alongside numerous other stakeholders, which means process, training, policy, and procedure. Respecting and working within this reality is the only way you’ll be able to execute on any patient engagement plans. No one person or department can bring all the needed parts to the table: Partnering with experts who have specialized knowledge is the most effective way to mitigate risks and finding solutions that are known to work.
How to Get There: The Snow Patient Ready Model
Exploring these three dimensions is a tall task. Fortunately, Snow can help you zero in on those answers. Our Patient Ready Model can help you understand and evaluate your brand’s needs in order to design and deliver strategic and compliant patient engagement solutions.
The Patient Ready Model is powered by data that sheds light
on all three dimensions of patient engagement:
Insights: Understanding patient needs
Benchmarks: Understanding the competitive
Resources: Determining specialized resources and
Being familiar with your brand’s performance and
requirements along each of these axes is valuable in its own right. Together, they
paint the full picture of how your brand can better engage with patients. And
Snow is uniquely positioned to help you pull that portrait together. We’ve
spent decades working with thousands of patients across a spectrum of
categories, so we have the experience, tools, and data to help you become truly
patient ready. Once that happens, the path to building positive and sustainable
patient relationships opens up. And it is relationships such as these that will
ultimately make or break brand success.
Are you ready to find out if your brand is patient ready? Go to AreYouPatientReady.com and follow the directions to take a short
About 29 million people in the United States rely on community-based organizations (CBOs), which provide care to low-income and uninsured patients, often living with infectious disease including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C . Since the onset of the HIV epidemic, community-based organizations have proved vital to the United States’ HIV prevention efforts, delivering the most effective HIV prevention strategies to those who need them the most and are at the greatest risk of infection . As the U.S. continues to battle COVID-19, community-based organizations are facing unprecedented demands to combat COVID-19 while continuing to deliver essential HIV prevention and treatment services .
to Kelsey Louie, GMHC, CEO:
“COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges for GMHC in ensuring that we could sustain our services for our clients during the pandemic. We pivoted many of our programs to remote delivery using video conferencing and implemented at-home HIV testing so these vital services could continue to be accessible to our communities. The new technologies that we have embraced during COVID-19 including telehealth and Mesmerize’s patient education platform, will continue to be vital parts of our programming well after the pandemic ends.”
shared case studies demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations
at the 2020 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA). Here are 5 ways COVID-19 affects
community-based organizations and their efforts to end the country’s HIV
1. Testing is the only way to know if you have HIV. If everyone knew their status, we could protect ourselves and each other, bringing us closer to ending the epidemic. As a result of COVID-19, however, community-based organizations were forced to think outside of the box to maintain client access to essential HIV prevention and care services including HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV) and STI testing.
Community-based organizations that have been providing long-standing and proven-effective HIV, HCV and STI testing to communities at risk have had to change their standard testing procedures to continue providing these vital services while also addressing COVID-19 . As a result of COVID-19, most CBOs were forced to change their traditional methods of care to continue in-person appointments while prioritizing the safety of their staff and clients and preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Changes to care included pre-screening prior to scheduling appointments, integrating HIV screening services into existing workflows, designating exam rooms to patients who are known to be at risk of COVID-19, and disinfecting all exams rooms after each appointment . While there are options for at-home HIV testing, STI testing requiring bloodwork must be done by a practitioner on-site. CBO staff are working hard to ensure that newly diagnosed patients are immediately linked to treatment and existing patients are adhering to their medications, while simultaneously working to prevent an already vulnerable population from getting COVID-19.
2. Community-based organizations are working to address and integrate COVID-19 with their existing HIV, Hepatitis, and STI care and prevention programs. Their deep community roots and relationships make them uniquely equipped to handle the transition from protecting vulnerable populations from infectious disease to include COVID-19 as well.
CBO staff have reported adding COVID-19
work to their scope of usual services and are calling for additional resources
to address emerging COVID-19 related needs among their clients . Most
organizations reported some level of involvement in COVID-19 related
activities, including educating clients about COVID-19 risks and protective
measures, conducting COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and providing
counseling and care for clients with COVID-19 . Compared to the traditional doctor’s office,
community-based organizations have deep community roots as well as strong
expertise in addressing social supports such as mental and personal care within
the communities they serve . This
makes CBOs uniquely positioned to transition their staff’s expertise from
sexual health to general health and makes them well equipped to incorporate
questions pertaining to COVID-19 concerns including mental health and wellness,
social isolation and current events, into previously routine testing
appointments . Some organizations
still reported the need for additional staff training and educational materials
on COVID-19 to distribute to clients, which Mesmerize continues to provide to
these organizations in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) .
3. Community-based organizations have adopted and executed new measures and strategies to address COVID-19 related needs among their clients.
Many community-based organizations have adopted new strategies to
continue providing quality service to the communities they serve. New strategies include digitizing client
forms and medical records, as well as utilizing virtual care as an additional
means for providing health education and counseling . While the pace at which these organizations
were able to execute such new strategies is remarkable, many reported needing
additional resources to properly implement these strategies, including
technical assistance to integrate COVID-19 within HIV, HCV and STI services,
technology training, and structured clinical support for staff . Additionally, while technology has been able
to solve for some of the problems facing CBOs, there are many services these
organizations provide to the community that must be addressed in-person,
including STI testing, affordable housing, and meal services. In an effort to continue providing these
essential in-person services, CBOs have had to purchase additional PPE for
their staff, as well as hand sanitizer and masks for community distribution,
requiring significant investment from these organizations .
4. CBOs have a history of facing financial challenges, with many organizations having few or no financial reserves, running persistent operating deficits, and having a lack of access to capital for investment in resources and technology . Community based organizations have incurred immediate expenses connected to the COVID-19 epidemic .
Many community-based organizations have limited or no financial reserves, making them extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in expected revenue and cost levels . COVID-19 has resulted in immediate expenses for CBOs, including the implementation of safety measures, infrastructure enhancement, and changes to their standard provision of services . While many organizations were able to quickly and creatively implement new methods to continue providing quality HIV, HCV and STI care throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, these rapid enhancements require significant investment from CBOs, including investments in Electronic Health Records (EHR), computers, and hotspots . Many organizations are tapping into their funds amidst the cancelling of fundraising events . Even those with unrestricted funds are concerned about the long-term sustainability of implementing safety and procedural measures to address COVID-19 while continuing to provide foundational HIV and Hepatitis prevention and care services . CBOs present at USCHA also expressed concern over their ability to strategically separate funds so that money reserved for HIV and Hepatitis prevention and care is not spent fighting COVID-19 . Organizations are hopeful that the next round of government funding will provide valuable support for CBOs to continue providing these valuable services, while also offsetting some of the losses they’ve incurred fighting COVID-19, and better preparing them for the future.
5. While adopting new methods and strategies to simultaneously fight both the AIDS and COVID-19 epidemics has been costly, many CBOs believe these new practices are for the better of the organization and will be adopted long-term with lasting impact.
Many CBOs invested in technology
upgrades, provision of virtual services, and HIV/HVC/STI program adaptation to
continue providing essential services to their clients while simultaneously
navigating new measures in place to address COVID-19. While COVID-19 has created unprecedented and
numerous challenges to community-based organizations, The Stronger Together
Partnership (comprised of The Black AIDS Institute, San Francisco Community
Health Center and Latino Commission on AIDS) applauds these organizations for
their ability to “take on the challenges by implementing team approaches to
problem solving, embracing technological upgrades, and fostering innovation. Many leadership staff have identified lessons
learned from this pandemic and are doing their best to see this as an
opportunity to develop new strategies and expand their service portfolio” . Many organizations also reported that the new
strategies and measures put in place to respond to COVID-19 will prepare them
for emergency responses in the future, allowing them to better serve their
community and be prepared for whatever may impact them next.
 CDC NCHHSTP.
“CDC Awards $216 Million to Community-Based Organizations to Deliver the
Most-Effective HIV Prevention Strategies to Those in Greatest Need.” HIV.gov,
1 July 2015,
 “COVID-19 and
HIV.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, 10 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/hiv/covid-19/index.html.
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Pandemic’s Impact of HIV and Hepatitis Programs.” NASTAD, NASTAD, 12
 Dreyfus, Susan,
and Tracy Wareing Evans. “The Importance of Community-Based Organizations in
Human Services.” Independent Sector, Independent Sector, 23 Jan. 2018,
Jennifer. “US Conference on HIV/AIDS.” Legacy Community Health, Expansion/Integration:
HIV Testing & PrEP During a Pandemic, 19 Oct. 2020,
Christopher, et al. “COVID-19 National Rapid Assessment Preliminary Report: The
Institutional Impact of COVID-19 on Organizations of Color Providing
HIV/STI/HCV Services to People of Color across the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S.
Virgin Island, and Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions.” Institute for
Latinx Health Equity, 2020, ilhe.org/stronger-together-partnership-c19-national-rapid-assessment-preliminary-report/.
Christopher, et al. “US Conference on HIV/AIDS.” Stronger Together Partnership
(STP), Impact of COVID-19 on Organizations of Color Providing HIV/STI/HCV
Services, 19 Oct. 2020, vevents.virtualtradeshowhosting.com/event/USConferenceonHIVAIDS/en-us#!/Workshops/n820161.
 Shaw, John, et
al. “US Conference on HIV/AIDS.” The Project of Primary Healthcare, A New
Normal: HIV/HCV/STI Testing during Covid-19, 20 Oct. 2020,
 Stone, Will.
“Under Financial Strain, Community Health Centers Ramp Up For Coronavirus
Response.” NPR, NPR, 24 Mar. 2020,
 Super, Nora
Mary Kaschak Elizabeth, et al. “Health Care And Community-Based Organizations
Have Finally Begun Partnering To Integrate Health And Long-Term Care: Health
Affairs Blog.” Health Affairs, 2 Feb. 2018,
In mid-October, the latest wave of research tracking COVID’s impact on outpatient visits was published by Commonwealth Fund, Harvard, and Phreesia. The latest data found that overall outpatient care visits in the prior month have finally returned to prepandemic levels, after dropping nearly 60% during the spring. (This fifth wave data set tracked trends through October 10th.) Not only did overall visit counts per week return to normal levels, but they even “slightly exceed” pre-COVID counts. But, as researchers noted, “there is considerable variation by patient age, geographic area, clinical specialty, and insurance coverage.”
While all age groups are on an upward trajectory again since the spring weeks, “visits for younger children remain substantially below the prepandemic baseline,” noted the report. Those aged 6 years or older all exceed prepandemic levels (6% above baseline for ages 6-17; 4% for ages 18-64; 5% for ages 65-74; 4% for ages 75+). Children ages 0-2 years are recording at 18% below baseline and ages 3-5 are coming in at 10% below baseline.
Weekly visits to dermatologist offices and adult primary care appointments are showing the highest level of rebounds, coming in at 17% and 13% above baseline, respectively. Areas such as OBGYN and Oncology are even with baseline. While pulmonology, otolaryngology, and behavioral health visits each track well below baseline at -20%, -17%, and -14%, respectively.
The researchers also detailed that while “telemedicine use has slowly but steadily declined” after peaking in April, its usage is still “well above the prepandemic baseline of very few telemedicine visits.” The use of telehealth varies depending on the medical specialties: areas such as surgical record low level usage (2% of total visits), but behavioral health outpaces other areas significantly (41% of total visits). Telemedicine’s implementation does vary by provider organization as well. For example, “organizations of six or more clinicians use more telemedicine than practices of one to five.” Additionally, the report finds that approximately 32% of organizations “never adopted [it] at all”. Those that did, however, have seen their use of it decrease to Minimal usage in the fall after Heavy or Moderate usage in the spring.