Isn’t Patient Centricity What Pharma Has Been Doing for Years?

TinaWoodsGraphic2Patient centricity is the new buzzword. Most of our pharma clients have patients at the heart of their corporate vision and mission, and say that the patient voice drives everything that they do. But what does it really mean to be truly patient centric?

At the recent EyeforPharma Patient Summit in London, there was a lot of talk on organising companies around patients rather than brands. And this is not surprising given that a true understanding of patients’ day-to-day needs and how they behave in the real world, as opposed to trial conditions, is critical to developing successful new products over the long term.

As digital channels, including mobile and social media, continue to democratise communication networks, pharma cannot afford to pay lip service to the increasingly powerful patient voice. They need to get used to the idea of patient opinion leaders shaping the future via patient-driven networks. For example, developing patient champions who will talk about their illness will be essential in establishing disease awareness.

The notion of supported self-management and how pharma should/could be involved is a hot topic. It is important to develop integrated, personalised patient support programmes to facilitate quality interaction between patients and stakeholders (including caregivers and family members) along the patient journey. The goal should be to provide innovative solutions around patient needs and wants—to deliver an improved patient experience, addressing patients’ individual beliefs, behaviours and goals as they are on their personal and emotional journey.

Meaningful patient insight is at the heart of any patient-centric strategy. Understanding the lived patient experience, “walking in the patients’ shoes,” is the key to deriving these insights. Anything else is just observation. Unless they have been patients themselves, even healthcare professionals are merely observers and cannot truly understand the lived patient experience.

True patient centricity is in the process of being defined, not by pharma, nor by healthcare professionals, but by the patients themselves. Is it any wonder that people are saying that “true patient engagement is the blockbuster drug of the century”?

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