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Concierge: The Case of a Brand That Gave Name to a Service

By Juana Ramirez - Grupo Sohin
Founder and CEO


By Juana Ramírez | CEO & founder - Wed, 05/31/2023 - 14:00

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On March 10, we celebrated the first PSP PHARMA DAY, an uncommon term and only familiar to those of us who work on the development of Patient Support Programs (PSP) that are common in the innovative pharmaceutical industry, meaning laboratories that invest in research and development of treatments for highly specialized diseases, such as oncology, autoimmune disorders, neurology, and rare or infrequent diseases.

PSPs are created to facilitate therapeutic adherence to pharmaceutical treatments for patients who require medication for periods of six months or more.

In their early stages, these programs were limited to support through a call center to manage the offer of gift units for the start of treatment or for every certain number of units purchased by the patient, with a focus on the private market. In the last decade, the programs have been incorporating other services to facilitate access to therapies, adding added value for patients and families, including patients in the public sector, among others. In addition, sectors like the medical device industry, insurance and, more recently, private hospitals and other health services have begun to adopt these initiatives.

In 2009, we founded SOHIN with the clear objective of placing the patient with complex diseases at the center of all healthcare processes through the management of ecosystems that incorporate, articulate and harmonize the different actors that participate in diagnosis, treatment and care. This is how the Concierge service was born: a comprehensive support model that manages the needs of patients, caregivers, and treating physicians, assigning a health professional trained in counseling, navigation, administrative management, and detection of emotional, nutritional, and occupational support needs, rehabilitation and palliative care that we provide from Harmony Health, the area of ​​Grupo SOHIN that brings together psychologists, nutritionists, therapists, doctors specializing in pain and palliative care, nurses, health coaches and health education experts. The pharmacovigilance department is in charge of detecting unwanted reactions in patients, guaranteeing the safety in the use of treatments, in addition to managing the necessary actions in coordination with pharmaceutical laboratories and today we are one of the main agents for reporting adverse effects to regulatory entities. The home care services are supported mainly by a powerful nursing team, who work on patient and family education, administer medications, train in the use of devices, and monitor care conditions. In 2011, and thanks to the advice and support of Mauricio Jalife Daher, a great mentor at Endeavor (the network of high-impact entrepreneurs to which I have belonged since 2015) and one of the most recognized lawyers in the world of intellectual property, we registered the Concierge brand in the health sector to group all these patient support services (up to that moment, the term had only been used generically in the hotel sector). The term is now used in the same way that we call sticky notes Post-it thanks to 3M, cotton swabs or Copitos by Johnson & Johnson, or aspirin for acetylsalicylic acid regardless of whether or not it is the Bayer product.

It is common to think that this effect, which in marketing is known as antonomasia, is exclusive to corporations with access to large advertising budgets that allow powerful positioning to the point that we omit the name of things and replace them with a brand. There are many cases and in all sectors: Kleenex, Mascara, instead of mascara, Diurex for adhesive tape, Colbón in Colombia and Resistol in Mexico replaced white glue and even pots for pressure cooking are called Express thanks to the company Ekco. I believe that this positioning arises when it is possible to connect a real need with a product or service that responds effectively to those needs and a user experience that enables permanence and growth in the market.

Obviously, in our case, we are talking about a term that was used generically in another sector and that we adapted to a particular and highly specialized niche in the health sector, in which the patient and their family normally have to go to multiple places, stand in line and manage dozens of cumbersome procedures that become even more unbearable when it comes to a long-term illness in which these processes must be repeated every month and in many cases for years. We imagined a healthcare professional who could make it easier for caregivers and treating physicians to care for and help and maintain the quality of life of patients using technology to make the concept scalable. Our concierges have been using telemedicine for more than 12 years.

Having their  brand become the generally accepted  name of a product or service is the dream of many entrepreneurs. I think that after almost 15 years, we have achieved it and in all honesty, I also feel that we are only halfway there because the true objective is to influence the way care for these diseases is conceived today so that in the future, caring for patients comprehensively is no longer an accessory or a luxury, but the preferred method.

Learn more about PSP PHARMA DAY and follow us to ensure your early registration because we already have a date for 2024!

Photo by:   Juana Ramirez

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