Why and how AstraZeneca launched a truly people-focused healthcare innovation hub

how AstraZeneca launched a truly people-focused healthcare innovation hub

In the world of healthcare innovation, it’s easy to lose sight of healthcare’s end user – the patient – and to find yourself designing solutions that don’t truly align with their problems. AstraZeneca (AZ) is tackling this problem with Health Works, a radically problem-focused innovation lab. We spoke with two leaders at Health Works and a former Health Works partner who now works at AZ to learn how the operation ticks.

The healthcare systems of the world are broad and complex. There are many steps between the creator of a drug, device, treatment, or therapy and the patient who ultimately benefits from it.

Stakeholders from pharma to hospitals have begun to incorporate patient centricity and patient engagement into their cultures in an effort to keep the patient’s needs and interests at the forefront of development processes. Too often, however, this becomes a formality or a box to check midway through a process or even towards the end of it, rather than the force that drives a process from the start.

“A lot of digital tools are developed by super bright people that know how to program and are good marketeers, but they’ve often never even met somebody who lives with heart failure,” said Martin Cowie, clinical vice president, cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic research and development at AstraZeneca. “They have an idea of what ‘good’ would look like to develop it to a high standard, but when you test it with the target users, it all falls apart because somebody who is 75 doesn’t generally have the digital skills of a 25-year-old.”  

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum's Deep Dive digital magazine