Written by Dr Andrea Cowley
Keeping the patient at the core
Better access to healthcare information has raised patients’ expectations leading to them independently garnering an understanding of their condition and managing their own healthcare (Figure 1).1 Healthcare professionals (HCPs), therefore, are now no longer the sole decision-maker when it comes to healthcare choices.1,2 In response to the changing customer base, the biopharmaceutical industry is moving away from product-centric approaches to ones that are patient-centric.
What is driving this need to be patient-centric?
A number of industry trends and patient factors are contributing to this shift from product-centricity to patient-centricity (Figure 1).
Decreased productivity and over-investment in R&D, saturation of large disease states and an increased focus on niche indications where it is difficult to get return on investment are all limiting the impact of product-centric approaches.3
Furthermore, patients are becoming more value-minded due to the rise in out-of-pocket expenses from new but costly health innovations and a growing range of lower-cost generic medicines following a rising number of patent expirations.3,4
Patients are increasingly key to approval and reimbursement decisions as regulatory bodies not only require real-world patient data but are also considering patient preferences and actively seeking patients’ input.1
Figure 1. Drivers shifting the decision-making from HCPs to patients.1,4
The biopharmaceutical industry, therefore, is under increasing pressure to create value to the patient while demonstrating commercial productivity and growth.
It is important to understand what it means to be patient-centric. Patient-centricity can be defined as acknowledgement that the needs of a patient or a distinct patient population — including their physiological, psychological and social needs — are at the core of decision-making.1,5
Increasingly, the industry is integrating patient-centric approaches across all stages of drug development from clinical trials to marketing (Figure 2). In doing so, companies will be able to create more value for patients through solutions that give patients the best possible health outcomes.4
Figure 2. Patient-centricity across all business functions.
The business advantage of patient-centricity
Keeping patients at the core of key business functions can give biopharmaceutical companies a competitive edge for strong commercial growth as they develop and deliver meaningful health technologies (Figure 3).
Patient-centricity can inform clinical trial design and assist with patient recruitment and retention thereby driving the development and delivery of new, high-value health innovations.6,7 Furthermore, companies will be able to gain clarity on where their core activities and competencies are and how they align with patients’ needs thus, informing their strategy, decision-making and resource allocation.6
Figure 3. Patient-centric business functions can help drive commercial growth.6,8
How to be patient-centric
Engaging and collaborating with patients and other stakeholders is a key step to acquiring important data on patients’ needs, behaviours, utilisation patterns and health outcomes.4 The amalgamation of this data can provide valuable insight and inform strategies for improving medicine use, increasing uptake and driving commercial growth (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Steps to becoming patient-centric.
Patient-centric strategies to create value and drive commercial growth
When it comes to increasing revenue, productivity and growth there are three broad categories of patients to keep at the core of commercial strategies, those: 8
- who are undiagnosed
- who are diagnosed but remain untreated
- whose conditions are inadequately managed.
A white paper published by Kinapse Consulting suggested that significant culture shift would be required for companies to be successful in patient-centricity. This involves shifting their focus from disease to patient segments and providing integrated healthcare spanning the full spectrum of a patient’s needs, however this could prove challenging.4
A more achievable option encompasses multi-faceted strategies (Figure 5) to increase productivity, growth and demonstrate value should be targeted and optimised to HCPs and patients and aim to: 4,8
- raise disease awareness and improve diagnosis rates
- improve product awareness through communication of compelling, high-quality evidence that demonstrates a product’s effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety compared to standard care
- address issues underpinning low treatment uptake such as access, affordability, patients’ motivations and disease severity (eg, by including access and pricing strategies)
- encourage proactive knowledge seeking and patient/HCP interactions
- use RWD to identify responders, optimise therapy and improve medicine use by expanding indications or developing newer doses, formulations and drug delivery methods
- improve compliance and adherence by developing mechanisms and tools.
Figure 5. Patient-centric strategies for increasing product uptake.
At CRC we want to make a difference
At CRC we strive for quality and excellence as our expert team collaborate with our clients to develop innovative, patient-centric medical affairs solutions that will boost commercial productivity and growth. Our competitive advantage coupled with our extensive expertise in medical affairs and strong ties to the biopharmaceutical industry will allow us to reinvigorate your product portfolio, expand access and increase product uptake. We will achieve this through effective and innovative stakeholder engagement and management, medical communication and health education, brand planning and pre-launch and launch strategies.
- Kinapse Consulting. Managing performance in patient centricity. Making the link between value for patients and value for the pharmaceutical industry. (Wimbledon, 2015).
- Datta, J. & Raizada, N. The future of pharma: Patients rising to the core. http://www.wipo.com/documents/insights/the-future-of-pharma-patients-rising-to-the-core.pdf
- Wang, L. & Palmer, R. Show me more: The growing need for patient-centric solutions. (2013).
- Kinapse Consulting. Putting the patient first. How the life sciences industries might look in 2018. (Wimbledon, 2013).
- Stegemannm, S., Ternik, R.L., Onder, G., Khan, M.A. & van Riet-Nales, D.A. Defining patient centric pharmaceutical drug product design. AAPS J 18, 1047-1055, doi:10.1208/s12248-016-9938-6 (2016).
- Perreault, P. The business benefits of patient-centricity. Australasian BioTechnology 216, 34. (2016)
- Sharma, N.S. Patient centric approach for clinical trials: Current trend and new opportunities. Perspect Clin Res 6, 134-138, doi:10.4103/2229-3485.159936 (2015).
- Rao, S.K. Generating growth through patient-centred commercial strategies. Journal of Medical Marketing: Device, Diagnostic and Pharmaceutical Marketing 12, 229-239 (2012).