Patients’ Week 2011: Enhancing patient value

Davis Walp, head of Value Based Solutions at Quintiles, explains the importance of tailoring programs to patients based on cultural and psychographic factors

There are many different definitions of value.

In healthcare, when patients think about value, what they are really looking for goes well beyond measured ‘health outcomes’, which are achieved as a result of their treatment.

Patients want to feel better, have more energy, and do more of the things that they like to do.

Patients generally don’t want to feel like they are defined by their illness; they look to the healthcare system to provide solutions that enable them to focus on what is important to them in their lives.

For example, to a diabetes patient, the value of their drug is in the ability to feel better, to maintain their lifestyle and to minimize the intrusiveness of their disease.

This is why oral once a day therapies are so desirable; patients can ‘take it and forget it’, which allows greater convenience and control than an injected treatment.

Patients also value knowing that control over their disease lowers the chances that it will progress or that they will develop co-morbidities.

One of the most important elements of ‘patient value’ extends beyond the medications patients take.

Everyone benefits when patients feel like empowered consumers of healthcare who are in control of their disease, more compliant with treatment, and healthier.

Patient engagement is therefore an important objective that can improve the value an individual gets from their medication.

The most engaged patients are those who


  • Are switched on and highly motivated to take ownership over their disease or engage in preventative behaviors

  • Are intrinsically motivated to seek information, take medication and, be educated about their condition

  • Believe that they have the ability to make decisions and take actions that will positively impact their health condition

  • Cognitively understand their condition and view their physician as an important partner in treating their disease

  • Understand the treatment options and pros and cons of each.


Engaged patients have better outcomes


It is typically highly engaged patients who seek earlier diagnosis and treatment, adhere to medication, and live healthy lifestyles—all of which work together to improve quality of life and outcomes for these patients.

For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) performed a study and determined that human behaviors are a bigger factor in impacting public health than the health system or our genetics in isolation.

The American Association of Retired Patients published a study that showed ‘activated’ patients experience a lower rate of hospital readmission, medical errors, and negative health consequences arising from poor communication amongst providers.

However, the jury is still out on return on investment for disease management programs.

I have seen several examples of very successful programs and many more examples of programs that did not drive meaningful effect.

I believe this is primarily the result of ‘one size fits all’ program design where patients of all walks of life and orientations experienced the same program content.

It goes without saying that you cannot talk to a 26-year-old male the same way you talk to a 73-year-old female.

I believe that we should be tailoring programs to patients based on not just demographics but also cultural and psychographic factors.

For everything patient-related, join the sector’s other key players at Patient Adherence, Communication and Engagement (PACE) USA on October 24-25 in Philadelphia. Download the full PACE agenda and speaker line-up here.  Want to know more? Contact

To read our Patients’ Week stories from 2010, see Patients’ Week 2010.

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