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eyeforpharma Philadelphia 2018: A delegate’s perspective

Patient Centricity is not new…but with so many willing partners for pharma, who is the right one to help leverage the full power of patient centricity?

At eyeforpharma in Philadelphia this April, the theme was “Know your patient. Deliver real value.” The concept of patient centricity is not novel, but it may be harder than we thought to leverage its inherent power and “deliver real value.” While pharma is making headway, there is a realization that it will take longer to accomplish, and it is a multifaceted venture that requires many partners. In a survey of over 1,200 industry players, 91% said patient centricity is important, but only 30% feel they are confident that they can make it happen. Technology, AI, machine learning, strong payer strategies and medical affairs will all need to work in concert to drive patient centricity, to improve patient care and shorten the benefit approval process.

Science and innovation does not seem to be the problem – alignment is!

The science of medicine continues to evolve at a rapid pace, creating new targeted drugs that focus on specific patient types (examples include Hep C, CAR-T and others), leading to higher life expectancy. However, what is missing is the drive to truly move the patient into the center of our universe, using the patient as a starting point rather than an afterthought. There was widespread consensus that there needs to be a major change around the corporate culture/mindset, alignment with managed care, regulatory challenges and slow R+D drug development processes. Are there lessons to be learned from other industries that have put the consumer first?

When building a patient-centric model, the devil is in the details!

Several companies talked about how they have put patients first, and an honest assessment of the current situation is almost always a good starting point:

  • Look within your company and examine its culture.
  • Engage with patient authentically and often.
  • Learn from other industries particularly tech (Amazon experience).
  • Deliver on patient promises.
  • Use data smartly and judiciously (big data does not always mean better data).
  • Help patients be self-reliant – allow them to guide us and help connect pharma with their lives.

Where do we go from here?

Pharma is betting big on digital transformation for the industry, but technology will not be enough. What is needed most of all is a change in mindset and culture, beginning with leadership. As multichannel marketing continues to become more and more relevant, placing the patient at the center of these marketing efforts, and truly designing programs and touchpoints to understand the patient perspective, will drive success. The pharma industry is at an important inflection point – it has always understood the importance of patients, but now it’s time to leverage data and technology resources to truly position patients as the fulcrum around which it will pivot and build the brands of the future. The next few years will determine whether we got it right.

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