Think Tank: Patient Centricity

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Five industry experts discuss what it's really going to take to put the patients at the top of the healthcare pyramid

Marc ­Sirockman
Executive vice president, general manager, Artcraft Health

Is the pharma industry meeting the needs of patients beyond getting products to market? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

The healthcare and pharma industries are experiencing a patient-centric evolution driven by healthcare reform and patient empowerment. However, cost pressures and the duality of patient needs are creating obstacles. The future of healthcare is clear with an outcomes-based model, which can be achieved only by delivering on the needs of patients through personalized education and making the patient the center of the value equation.

What are the biggest historical, structural, financial, and psychological roadblocks to patient-­centricity, and what's it going to take for pharma to truly start putting the patient first?

Historically, pharma marketing has focused on the needs of the physicians. Today, empowered patients are taking control of their health outcomes. This change will require pharma to refocus its marketing efforts and refine its selling strategy with a focus on personalized communication. Financial pressures pre­sent roadblocks, but delivering on the education and resources patients seek is the first step in putting them first.

What will happen in the next year or two regarding industry's ­relationship with patients? Do you see a meaningful transition?

Healthcare reform and changing industry practices will lead to a slow yet impactful transition. First, provider reimbursement reform will force a shift to outcomes-based healthcare. The connected health evolution driven by empowered patients will drive the transition from physician to patient, and open opportunities for pharma to reach patients on a personalized level. The hope is that pharma will address their needs and build a strong relationship with them.

Mark Heinold
CEO, LDM Group

Is the pharma industry meeting the needs of patients beyond getting products to market? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

The industry is doing a better job at meeting the needs of patients than in years past, but there is room for improvement. Providing patients with easy-to-access and easy-to-understand information remains the best place to invest resources. Improving the dialogue between the patient and provider is equally important, since the patient-provider relationship is the foundation of better care and ­improved outcomes.

What are the biggest historical, structural, financial, and psychological roadblocks to patient-­centricity, and what's it going to take for pharma to truly start putting the patient first?

Pharma was most active with physicians because that was where the locus of control existed. Now, we are seeing growth in the ability of patients to access information, the use of non-physician providers, and attention to how resources are invested. Pharma can be most effective in this environment by developing innovative medications and educating patients and providers about their use and the conditions they prevent or treat.

What will happen in the next year or two regarding industry's ­relationship with patients? Do you see a meaningful transition?

Pharma will become increasingly involved with patients, often at the point of care, and there is an opportunity for the industry to regain some respect that was lost in years past. Whether that happens or not depends on our behavior and investment decisions.  Providing relevant and helpful resources—which both patients and providers trust—is needed and desired. The meaningful transition is already taking place because customers are investing in these types of resources and tools.

Marc Monseau
Founder, Mint Collective

Is the pharma industry meeting the needs of patients beyond getting products to market? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

There are too few examples of companies or brands creating resources or services that provide value to patients, caregivers or HCPs. With the number of Americans expected to be taking medications for at least one chronic condition growing to 157 million by 2020, there is an enormous opportunity for manufacturers to create digital tools and resources to help remind or encourage them to take their medications as prescribed.

What are the biggest historical, structural, financial, and psychological roadblocks to patient-­centricity, and what's it going to take for pharma to truly start putting the patient first?

Though people who work in the pharmaceutical industry are dedicated to improving people's lives, most organizations are not geared to provide support. There are too few customer touchpoints for registering complaints, asking questions or gaining information. This is particularly true with online channels. Companies need to better connect the communications channels and provide opportunities for more two-way conversations.

What will happen in the next year or two regarding industry's ­relationship with patients? Do you see a meaningful transition?

I'm optimistic. There are some great teams in place at some of the major companies who are working hard to create new tools, resources and approaches and, in some cases, attempting to change the culture in order to serve patients. In addition, there are growing numbers of new digital and mobile health platforms that can be used to support patient needs, improve adherence and compliance, and that can provide better insights to manufacturers around patient behaviors.

Richard ­Nordstrom
CEO and co-founder, NorthStream Global Partners

Is the pharma industry meeting the needs of patients beyond getting products to market? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

Few pharma companies have moved beyond the debate on rewards of achieving a “patient-centered approach.” Among the biggest gaps is the chasm between patient education and true comprehension—a principal driver to adherence.  The good news for pharma is that the path for understanding and motivating patient behavior change is easily accessible with the application of improved HCP-patient engagement tools.

What are the biggest historical, structural, financial, and psychological roadblocks to patient-­centricity, and what's it going to take for pharma to truly start putting the patient first?

“Putting the patient first” sounds like an admirable goal, but it has never been the priority in clinical practice. It's not just “putting the patient first” that's necessary—it's empowering the HCP-patient engagement pathway.  And pharma should be playing a role—and have a voice—at the point of digital engagement. Brands can differentiate themselves by providing the content and platform for the HCP. Early adopters have discovered it is a win-win.

What will happen in the next year or two regarding industry's ­relationship with patients? Do you see a meaningful transition?

Innovation most often comes from younger, nimble, smaller stakeholders. Pharma tends to be risk averse and has a follow-first mindset. But cross-stakeholder collaboration is now a must. What pharma can do is provide the “glue,” the platform, for such collaboration as well as employ a “test” mentality. By providing innovators with the resources they need to bring their digital tools and solutions to market, pharma can help pave the way to accelerating the delivery of “patient-centric” solutions.

Fraser ­Halscheid
VP, commercial business unit, Galderma

Is the pharma industry meeting the needs of patients beyond getting products to market? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

With educational campaigns and patient support programs, we can work to ensure that we are meeting patient needs throughout the cycle of their treatments.  As for gaps, I believe the industry needs to continue to partner with employers and payers to help them understand the importance of skin health to patients, because skin is really the window to the world.

What are the biggest historical, structural, financial, and psychological roadblocks to patient-­centricity, and what's it going to take for pharma to truly start putting the patient first?

Patient centricity will continue to be the key for success in the years going forward. As healthcare costs shift to patients, people will demand more information about the products they use. As the power of patient acumen increases, we have a huge opportunity to educate patients on their needs. 

What will happen in the next year or two regarding industry's ­relationship with patients? Do you see a meaningful transition?

I absolutely think there will continue to be a focus on patient centricity.  The pharmaceutical industry will need to provide people with brands they can trust and I believe patients will have a desire to connect and interact with the industry like never before.  Skin health will be on the cutting edge of patient/industry ­connectivity because of the visual nature of skin conditions and the fact that people can see and feel good about healthy skin results.

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