Doug Noland
head, patient experience at Astellas

Doug Noland may have taken his first healthcare job while in college, but it was a near-tragedy that fueled his desire to make a true impact in the space: His infant daughter was injured in an accident, exposing him and his family to the challenges associated with the healthcare system. That experience has informed everything that followed, cementing his passion to create and expand opportunities for pharma to do better by its patients and their families.

As head, patient experience at Astellas, Noland has followed through on that mission. The company’s patient experience group is something of a unicorn within pharma: It operates independently of the Astellas mothership’s medical and commercial arms, with a sole focus on utilizing tech to improve the healthcare experience for patients, family members, and caregivers.

Noland’s group launched internally with a slate of programs designed to increase empathy and education in and around the company. One of the programs uses VR tech to help employees experience a day in the life through the eyes of a patient.

The group is also the chief internal sponsor of Patient and Caregiver Focus Week, during which Astellas does a deep dive with patients and caregivers who are Astellas employees. Additionally, the patient experience unit’s reach has been extended to include regular consultation with integrated health systems. The ambitious goal: to redefine what pharma can bring to healthcare and reinvigorate existing programming.

Prior to his arrival at Astellas, Noland served as marketing director at Ferndale Laboratories and as founder and business unit head at Biopelle.