How to make "patient-centricity" more than just a marketing concept
In the past years, the amount of attention the concept of patient-centricity has received in the Pharma spheres is remarkable. Companies around the world have started to include the expression in their purpose statements and overall communication.
That being said, the majority of patient advocacy groups still do not recognize Pharma as a trusted partner that truly take their needs into account.
This discrepancy has recently been addressed by a study and report conducted by the organization The Aurora Project together with Ipsos. The study consisted of an online questionnaire sent to over 1200 pharmaceutical and medical device professionals.
According to the report, the explosion of medical knowledge and ease of access to information, the increase social sharing in patient networks, the multiplication of care providers who do not properly coordinate with each other and the raise of patient-as-payer model have all been pressuring companies to recognize the need for patient centricity.
And in theory, they really do.
91% of the responders deem highly important that their organization focuses on patient-centricity. In contrast, only 30% were convinced that their organization is walking that talk and delivering as it should.
The report is then offering suggestions on how to close the action gap.
Ideas such as helping employees to connect to their “purpose story”, inciting them to ask themselves “would a patient care about this?” before they act, or to swap the notion of “market share” for the notion of “number of patient helped” are plentiful, and relate to a change in mindset that is as gradual as it is necessary.
However, that change in mindset is not a panacea.
Employees in pharmaceutical companies are already finding themselves constrained by tight deadlines and financial objectives. But if patient-centricity is truly a goal, they will need the appropriate resources and environment to act in more hands-on, concrete ways.
No employee, would they be stable team players or company superstars, is able to include patient insight in launch strategies, positioning and brand plans, reform communication platforms to interact with patients in better ways, and include patients in development processes by themselves, on top of their business-as-usual responsibilities.
In other words, turning these visions into reality requires the kind of strategical initiatives and planning that happens at the C-level, that result in appropriate training, budgets, inclusion in employees’ objectives and proper measurement of results.
Do you work in pharma? If so, what type of initiative has your company taken to ensure patients are included in development and commercial activities?
Or, have you made changes at your own scale to work in a more patient-centric way? I will be glad to read your insights in the comment section.