Feeling the Patient’s Pain: Towards True Patient Centricity
Deirdre Coleman looks into what it takes to achieve true excellence in capturing and leveraging patient insight and the shift in mindset required to make patient centricity a strategic imperative.
Patient insight is the discovery of something fundamental about a patient’s needs, which pharmaceutical companies must integrate into their offering to create patient value and competitive advantage. Capturing and leveraging patient insight is a challenge for most pharma companies with many acutely aware of their need to build their patient insight capabilities. But what does it take to achieve excellence in consumer insight? And how can companies ensure they are leveraging this insight effectively to deliver value to an ever-discerning patient?
Patient Centricity: A Corporate Philosophy
To generate and capture the value of superior patient insight, an organization must:
- Have the right philosophy about the importance of patients and their insights
- Have the right people to generate and leverage superior insights
- Have the right processes in place to generate and leverage insights
It’s about giving the patient a seat at the table when it comes to decision making and considering them as an integral part of everything we do.
According to Werner Bleilevens, Head of Patient Centricity, Grünenthal, a corporate philosophy that is truly customer-centric is mission-critical to achieving competitive advantage and growth: “Understanding the patients’ needs and working towards creating new innovations for the patient in terms of a better product and a better outcome is central to everything we do at Grünenthal. As Head of Patient Centricity, I act as the link between the patient and the various departments, connecting the various departments with the patient, in what we call the Patient Ambassador Program. By understanding patient needs, desires and lives, we will come closer to developing products which the patient needs and the market truly wants. Placing the patient at the centre of everything we do is vital for us as a corporate philosophy and understanding. Integrating the patients unmet needs into our daily decision making processes is an essential component of our ability to add value to the lives of patients. This insight can vastly improve the patient’s life in terms of developing better product formulations, clearer packaging and enhanced information sources. It’s about giving the patient a seat at the table when it comes to decision making and considering them as an integral part of everything we do. The challenge for most companies is adapting to this mindset and making patient centricity part of their core corporate philosophy”.
Feeling the Patient’s Pain
The marketing powerhouses in consumer goods such as Proctor and Gamble develop deep insight by observing consumer behavior, analyzing consumer needs and uncovering latent consumer discontent. They are good at listening to and learning from consumers, and they use the information they glean to create demographic and psychographic market segmentations. Armed with this knowledge, they build demand by providing continuous, targeted communication that anticipates consumers’ needs. Pharma companies need to adopt the same tactics and apply them to patients, delivering value in a personalized way.
“Understanding the patient means getting to know them personally, listening to them and their caregivers, and developing deep insight into their needs, desires, fears and motivations. For us at Grünenthal, it was invaluable to detect the importance of side-effects for chronic pain patients. For patients living with the burden of chronic pain, side-effects such as brain fog can impinge greatly on their quality of life, making it impossible for them to enjoy even simple tasks such as reading a book. We thought zero pain was the objective; however patients educated us to the fact that minimal pain is preferable to zero pain if it negates having to endure severe side effects. We also take into account the effect living with chronic pain has on their spouses and how it impacts on their lives day-to-day. Insight like this is invaluable to learn about the real needs and desires of the patient”, explains Bleilevens.
The essence of patient-centric care is differentiation. In a patient-centric world, pharma customers encounter a marketplace that provides products, services, information and communication tailored to their individual needs. In turn, pharmaceutical companies that focus on a patient-centric approach can expect better compliance, greater loyalty and the possibility of price premiums due to better safety and efficacy profiles. It’s a win-win situation.
The move to a more patient centric orientation is a strategic imperative for pharma. The companies that can best address the needs of its patients will reap rewards in terms of sustainable growth and enhanced profitability. Win-win indeed.
Werner Bleilevens will be speaking at the Patient Summit in London, June 2014. For more information, click here.
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