Patient centricity: Identifying how Boehringer Ingelheim UK can be better

Boehringer Ingelheim

Following white papers in September 2015 and February 2016, here Boehringer Ingelheim UK provides an update on its patient centricity initiative ahead of  a new white paper later this year.

Boehringer Ingelheim UK has embarked on a bold journey of patient centricity. In a pioneering move, it has set itself the challenge of measuring the extent to which it embraces the patient voice throughout its business processes and across the medicines development pathway, from clinical research right through to ‘beyond the pill’ support initiatives. This aims to reflect and align with the changing healthcare system, which, since 2012, is placing more emphasis on the patient’s role in clinical decision making.

In short, patient input is becoming more important and central to healthcare than ever before. It is, therefore, vital that Boehringer Ingelheim UK continues in its efforts to become more patient centric and build on its heritage of constructively working with patient organisations.

However, it is not enough to just work with patient organisations. Boehringer Ingelheim UK realised that its patient-centric work needed to be evaluated for its effectiveness and to identify gaps for improvement. To this end, the company has undertaken a comprehensive analysis to define patient centricity and formulate six core principles of patient centricity, which have been discussed in two previous whitepapers.

Six principles of patient centricity

Six principles of patient centricity

These six principles will now form the basis by which to measure the level of patient centricity in the company. Boehringer Ingelheim UK is working to establish a judging team and metrics for a scoring system for the inaugural judging day in October. This day will bring together Boehringer Ingelheim UK staff from across the business, who have developed an in-depth understanding of the needs of patients through their roles in the company, to present their work to a panel of judges made up of patient organisations and representatives. The inclusion of the patient perspective on the judging panel is testament to the fact that Boehringer Ingelheim UK is serious in its aim to become a truly patient-centric organisation – both in its initiatives and how those initiatives are scrutinised.

The judges will consider the extent of Boehringer Ingelheim UK’s patient centricity by measuring recent initiatives against the six principles. Each principle will be explored with the presentation of examples, followed by an open discussion. The frequency of the activity and how recent the examples are will make up the scoring system alongside qualitative feedback, which together will generate a rating. From this the company will be able to ascertain which principles are being fully met, partially met or are not being met at all.

Identifying gaps and setting a benchmark

The objective of the judging day is simple and two-fold. Firstly, it will identify the gaps that exist for each principle and, secondly, it will produce a benchmark that Boehringer Ingelheim UK can build on. Boehringer Ingelheim UK has many examples of its patient-centric work, but the company is also aware that gaps exist – not every principle will exceed expectations.

In this sense, Boehringer Ingelheim UK will seek to specifically identify where the company is not fully meeting the principles. For instance: is there a lack of patient-centric examples of work; does the frequency of activity need to be increased; are examples of activity not recent enough; are examples thought to be patient-centric not actually patient-centric at all? For these gaps to be identified, and in order for Boehringer Ingelheim UK to improve, the principles and examples must be scrutinised by the patient organisations and indeed the company itself. Having the right people in the room judging will be critical for this success.

The scoring exercise should energise Boehringer Ingelheim UK and provide a platform to take on board patient feedback and use this to change direction towards greater patient centricity. Hence the scores will also provide a benchmark for the company. This will be reviewed annually with the aim to improve patient centricity year on year. Such a benchmarking system will give patient and carer organisations a clearer idea of what the company stands for and the direction in which it is headed. Furthermore, it will give the company direction and enable the setting of future targets.

Establishing an action plan for greater patient centricity

Once a score has been calculated and a benchmark set, Boehringer Ingelheim UK will establish a plan to close the gaps. This will involve identifying the areas where a difference can be made; although some changes will likely be more extensive and a level of prioritisation will be needed.

The company envisages that a set of priorities will be established for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, with the results, findings and action plan specific to each principle published in a white paper towards the end of the year. This will make clear the benchmark the company will work from and be referred back to as this exercise is replicated on an annual basis.

The real challenge, but perhaps the most exciting part, will be working on the commitment to close the gaps. This will require the whole organisation getting behind the change, with support from senior management and teams, from clinical research to those engaging directly with patient organisations. Working as a whole company is the only way to ensure Boehringer Ingelheim UK becomes truly patient centric.

Already the response to the Boehringer Ingelheim UK patient-centric initiative has been positive, with increasing awareness externally of the work the company is doing. The initiative was recently referenced as part of a patient panel at the Digital Pharma Europe Conference earlier this year, highlighting that the company has hit on something that resonates with patients.

As the October judging day approaches, Boehringer Ingelheim UK will continue to fine tune the scoring system and bring together a panel of judges with the right knowledge and experience. There is growing excitement and momentum as the Boehringer Ingelheim UK journey develops. This is a company embracing change, and the results and findings from the judging day will shape the company around a core of patient centricity in the years to come.

To read the previous white papers, please click on the below links.

Patient centricity: What it means and why it’s important to have patients at the centre of our thinking

Patient centricity: How does Boehringer Ingelheim UK measure up?

[UK/GEN-161085; August 2016]