Getting patients round the virtual table
If pharma wants to be truly patient-centric, it needs to be talking to patients. This may seem obvious, but there are still so many barriers in place – both on regulatory and company culture levels – that it can be hard to shift companies’ mindsets to the point where they are ready to embrace patient engagement.
“Historically, there was only really one key decision maker about what drugs were being prescribed, and that was the physician,” says Natalie Yeadon, co-owner and managing director of digital stakeholder engagement company Impetus Digital. “Today, the stakeholder base that pharma companies are connecting with is so much more diverse and complex. It is now comprised of allied healthcare providers, payers, patient organisations and even individual patients. The reason patient centricity is so important is that patients are playing a much larger role in that final decision making.”
She adds: “Pharma needs to know where these patient groups are. What are they saying? What are their conditions? Then they can have these patients play an important role in everything.”
Yeadon is no stranger to patient engagement – Impetus often helps pharma companies engage with patients through online, asynchronous advisory boards, working groups and other forums. She believes that pharma needs to build an authentic partnership with patients in a trustful manner in order to become truly patient-centric.