One of the most confounding challenges facing the neurotechnology industry is the lack of awareness of neurotech therapies among the public and clinician communities. It is not enough to have a neurotech device that offers therapeutic advantages compared to traditional medical management for a target patient population. If the patient community and the clinician base serving that community is not sufficiently aware of the device and what it can offer, then that device is less likely to achieve commercial success.
A salient example of this phenomenon currently exists within the community of migraine sufferers. The neurotech firm electroCore recently partnered with a nonprofit health information source for women called HealthyWomen to survey women currently dealing with migraine pain. According to the survey of more than 1,000 female migraine patients between the ages of 18 and 60, 86 percent were completely or somewhat willing to try non-drug treatments. Unfortunately, only 36 percent expressed awareness of non-drug treatment options.
To bridge this knowledge gap surrounding the availability and utility of non-drug treatment options, HealthyWomen and electroCore developed a suite of content, which can be found at HealthyWomen.org/migraine, designed to educate women who suffer from migraine and to empower them to initiate a conversation with their clinicians about the use of non-drug therapies in their own treatment plan.
“This important survey clearly demonstrates that there is a strong demand among women for non-drug treatment options,” said Frank Amato, CEO of electroCore. “With 70 percent of all migraine sufferers and 85 percent of chronic migraine sufferers being women, it is essential that we educate both providers and patients in the migraine community about safer alternative options like noninvasive VNS. The collaboration with HealthyWomen is an important step in educating women about their health and bringing non-drug treatment options into the forefront.”
Additional findings from the survey support the importance of patient education regarding non-drug treatments in migraine since fewer than 18 percent of patients said they are completely satisfied with their migraine treatment. Three-fourths of the patients noted migraines interfere with their daily activities. More than 90 percent of sufferers typically try multiple treatments for their migraines, and nearly half tried four or more.
Of course migraine is not the only condition where this information gap exists. As Jennifer French reports on page 7 of this issue, the spinal cord injury community would also like to see a richer source of information on potential therapies.
It is clearly in the industry’s interest to pursue more customer and clinician education programs like the electroCore/HealthyWomen initiative.
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