Year in Review 2014: Patients
2014 saw the topic of patient-centricity rise to centre-stage.
While pharma leaders encouraged each other to put patients at the heart of their organization, some skeptical voices emerged, alarming that focusing on individual experience is not enough to save healthcare from an impending disaster. We provided you with coverage of key issues, initiatives, and policies that affected patients in 2014. Here are the highlights.
In this interview with eyeforpharma Chairman, Paul Simms, Gitte P. Aabo, President & CEO of LEO Pharma, reveals her company’s priorities regarding supporting patients with skin disease. “Soon, we will be launching some of our first solutions co-created with patients; solutions that combine safety and efficacy and are easy to use,” Aabo said. She talked about the opportunities created by collaborations, stressing that greater stakeholder collaboration makes it possible to provide the best possible patient solutions. “The incentive for collaboration is to achieve win-win situations, providing value for patients, the healthcare system, and the industry,” she added.
Is patient-centricity really all you need? Dr. Mary Baker, immediate past President of the European Brain Council, believes it isn’t. “If pharma companies pursue that they’re solely patient-led, patient-focused, patient-centric, they won’t be able to deliver,” she said in an interview with Paul Simms. Focusing on individual experience is not a solution: “We are currently sleepwalking into a healthcare catastrophe that is simply not sustainable. We need to look at the greater societal impact of disease on family and caregivers", Dr. Baker asserted.
In the first of a three-part series, we spoke with Jeff Elton, Managing Director of Accenture Life Sciences, about defining patient-centricity, how to incorporate it in your business strategy, and how to overcome obstacles to becoming patient-centric. “[Patient centricity] is an organizing construct for life science companies that challenges many of the conventional ways in which they operate,” Elton said, adding that patient centricity is a way of thinking that should be “deeply engrained in company’s values and performance management systems.”
In the second of a three-part series, we caught up with Lode Dewulf, Chief Patient Affairs Officer, UCB, to talk about the critical stages in the progression from product-centric or physician-centric to patient-centric. Dewulf stressed the importance of early pioneers, mostly employing “push” engagements with patients, and early commitments, where the company “realizes the importance of patient centricity and informs its employees on the direction to take. He commented on the relevance of experimentation, as well as coordination and collaboration. “No one has cracked the code of patient centricity as yet,” he concluded.
In the third enstallment, we asked Pierre Morgon, Cegedim, why patient centricity is so difficult to implement. “Patient centricity is defined as truly personalized care and is difficult because of the specificity and the amount of data that needs to be gathered and processed, from prevention to prognosis, to treatment, to management of outcomes. Secondly, the risk-averse culture of pharma is an inhibitor and a third decelerator is the absence of the right skills, processes and organizational structures that promote the smooth interfacing of functions – including data sharing – so that the goal of patient centricity can be reached,” Morgon said.
Although they fall ill at least as frequently as adults, children are still at the fringes of pharma’s efforts to become patient-centric. Dr. Kate Hersov, the CEO and founder of Medikidz, shared with eyeforpharma a number of tips for pharmaceutical companies eager to engage young patients. Although pediatric population is unlikely to drive much revenue, Hersov speculated, it is crucial for a young person to be “at the heart of their care, to be empowered, to achieve self-management,” and explained how to do it.
A discussion with Michael Seres, a bowel transplant patient, on what steps pharma should take to understand patient experience. “My vision is that pharma starts looking at a patient as a whole, not just someone who consumes their drugs. I want to say to pharma that I need to take their medication, but in return for that, I want them to provide resources that will help me deal with my life as a patient. Look at my life as a whole, help me with my life, and I will help you in return,” Seres told eyeforpharma. In the interview, he names practical solutions the industry could consider on their way to patient-centricity.
Essure, sold as a safe and affordable form of birth control for women who don’t want any more children, continues to cause controversy as reports of severe side effects hit the headlines. In our two-part series, we examined the evidence behind the device and tried to answer the question whether Bayer’s product is indeed more dangerous than alternatives, or whether the manufacturer failed to accurately communicate associated risks. The articles triggered a heated debate on our forum, and prompted Bayer to respond by leaving a phone number where women affected by Essure could share their experiences with a Bayer Medical Representative.
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