Stop Paying Lip Service to Patient-Centricity

April 9, 2014
Guest Blogger

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharma has operated the same way for 100 years, but the US healthcare model has changed completely in the last 30 years, for payers, pharmacists, hospitals, and even at the clinician level.

Pharma has operated the same way for 100 years, but the US healthcare model has changed completely in the last 30 years, for payers, pharmacists, hospitals, and even at the clinician level. These changes necessitate pharma – a traditionally stagnant partner – to change now or further risk having its stubbornness result in a fate that will be dictated by those who have figured out how to reinvent themselves to compete in today’s market.

Mike Edwards, director, patient relations, insights & stakeholder management at LEO Pharma

With the days of blockbuster drugs now mostly gone, every pharma company is trying to squeeze as much as they can from their product portfolio. Conventional methods of marketing no longer yield predictable results, so there’s a need to do something different. That different something is focusing on the patient.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to talk the talk without walking the walk, especially in one of the most regulated industries in the world, not to mention an industry where companies live and die on their ability to meet the commitment of projected quarterly earnings. Oh, and by the way, real patient focus is a wild card for the vast majority of pharmas, as patients were a stakeholder that pharma has had the luxury of being able leave in the hands of others to satisfy, until now.

However, true patient centricity requires risk in an industry that has been reprogrammed to be risk-averse in everything we do, even in how we think.

What risks are we most afraid of?

  • Risk in asking patients what they really need or want from pharma.

  • Risk of discovering that patients may demand something your product simply can’t provide currently.

  • Risk of making an investment in something we know is right yet might be hard and potentially impossible to track or measure to show a direct ROI.

What to do about the Disconnect

The bottom line is that Obamacare is here and patients are now consumers of healthcare, whether by choice or mandate. As such, patients’ demands have risen in terms of what they expect from providers, above and beyond gaining a prescription.

Patient perceptions of clinicians will not simply be based on their ability to make a diagnosis, but also on their ability to provide optimal value to their customers, i.e., patients. Like savvy consumers, patients will expect “everything AND the kitchen sink,” figuratively speaking.

At the same time, more patients can now leverage their voices to become informed decision-makers in their health. Pharma and the end-user (an often ignored stakeholder) can now co-collaborate to build the best solutions for people suffering with various conditions. Outside of pharma, almost every other industry starts with the end user in mind. Pharma is behind in this approach, but now it the time to follow suit.

At LEO Pharma, QualityCare is the our platform for patient centricity, our visible commitment to helping patients by providing value for specific skin conditions, regardless of what therapy a person may or may not be using. We are confident that if we provide the best solutions and services, patients will choose LEO. QualityCare is a patient support offering that is built with the needs of the person who happens to be a “patient” at the center of everything we do. It’s the right risk and one we are willing to take.

To put it simply, if brands want to make an impact in today’s market they must put the patient first. With limited funds, restrictions, and long turnaround times on projects, every strategy, tactic, or initiative counts. So why not put your money where you are most likely to win: with the people whose health you are trying to improve.

Michael Edwards is director of patient relations, insights, and stakeholder management at LEO Pharma. He can be reached at michael.edwards@leo-pharma.com.

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