A digital platform to empower patients with erectile dysfunction.Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common disorders, affecting 4 out of 10 men in their lifetime. Given that, according to some studies, only 5% of cases are diagnosed, it seems clear that there is still a long way to go in terms of visibility and treatment of this disorder.
Laboratorios Rubió, a pharmaceutical company based in Catalonia, founded in 1968, has launched significant drugs on the market that have had an impact on both survival and quality of life for many patients.
One of its drugs, Bandol®, is designed for adult men with erectile dysfunction. Its competitive advantage is that it has a dosing pump that allows the necessary dose to be adjusted, as recommended by doctors and the product's technical data sheet, approximately one hour before having sexual intercourse. As with any prescription drug, its promotion is closely regulated, so a strategy that generates added value for the patient and facilitates early diagnosis is necessary.
"Right from the start of our conversations with the medical department of Laboratorios Rubió, we understood that the most important thing was to raise awareness in society about the importance of diagnosing ED," says Alba Grañó Miret, project manager at Opinno.
As one of the andrologists involved in the project explains: "Part of the problem of underdiagnosis of ED comes from the name of the pathology itself, which creates a taboo. No one wants to be 'dysfunctional', least of all when it comes to sex." Because of this existing taboo, he stresses that "it is important to educate the patient: to explain to them why they should take one treatment and not another, the associated risk factors and to make sure they have grasped how it works and the need to change certain habits."
"The solution to create this social awareness, consisted in the creation of a digital platform (DEapp) that would promote an initial pre-diagnosis and empower patients on the road to their treatment, facilitating access to healthcare professionals" concludes the head of the project.
The work involved an initial brainstorming phase which included market research, to find out how digital health solutions and therapies were regulated in Spain, concluding that it is still in its infancy compared to countries such as the United States or Germany.
In collaboration with the Rubió team, Opinno conducted an exhaustive study to identify the key aspects that should be communicated on the platform, with a focus on the patient and their experience. In this way, interviews were conducted with primary care physicians and specialists during the last quarter of 2021, followed by usability testing of the platform with patients in January.
In addition to making the solution more attractive and accessible through a specific graphic design concept, the aim was to add value and determine the most relevant information to the patient in the face of a journey they know little about. The example that stands out the most is that only 1 in 7 patients interviewed in our study was aware of the existence of andrologists, the ED specialists. Moreover, patients' modesty and natural reluctance to expose themselves causes them to often seek resolution through a medical friend or primary care. To the extent that ED can have implications for other pathologies, early diagnosis is very important to prevent possible serious diseases.
That is why DEapp offers the patient the pre-diagnostic test (SHIM) endorsed and used by the scientific community. Based on 5 questions, the test is performed in 3 minutes and the patient receives the results anonymously. To facilitate the definitive diagnosis, information on care centers and specialists in the patient's area of residence is added. In addition to the test, the platform has information pills and frequently asked questions about ED, its causes and physiological mechanisms, as well as the importance of communication with the partner.
The platform's initial communication strategy includes agreements with pharmacies in Madrid and Barcelona to have brochures and posters with QR codes in their establishments, as well as SEM campaigns in the main search engines, which have had very good results.
The great interest created by the ED topic has attracted a high level of user traffic to the platform. In addition, the high conversion rate has validated the usefulness of the platform as a solution to one of the main problems of the pre-diagnosis stage, the lack of knowledge and quality information on the pathology and its management. So far, a total of 840 users have already completed the test and obtained the results report indicating their degree of erectile dysfunction.
Another added benefit of the solution is the capture of Real World Data, which allows a better understanding of the patient through more representative samples and helps to make better business decisions.
At Opinno we are very proud to be able to collaborate in creating real and measurable impact on society by raising awareness about the importance of diagnosing ED and facilitating access to healthcare professionals.
Prieto Castro, Rafael; Campos Hernández; Pablo, Robles Casilda, Rafael; Ruíz García, Jesús; Requena Tapia, María José (2010). EPIDEMIOLOGÍA DE LA DISFUNCIÓN ERÉCTIL. FACTORES DE RIESGO. Arch. Esp. Urol. 2010; 63 (8): 637-639
Puigvert-Martínez, Ana; Prieto-Castro, Rafael (2015). El diagnóstico y el tratamiento de disfunción eréctil en España: la opinión del médico de atención primaria. Proyecto «Atlas de la disfunción eréctil en España». Revista Internacional de Andrología, 13(3), 92 -98. doi:10.1016/j.androl.2014.12.006