News & Views

Why ‘patient obsession’ is critical to pharma success

Becoming patient obsessed is about being so focused on patients’ needs that you actively seek to understand the challenges they face and are driven to solving these issues.

When you are patient obsessed, patient centricity becomes a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. Ultimately, it will mean better outcomes for patients.

This was the subject of a recent talk given by A Life in a Day creator Mark Doyle. Speaking to members of the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA), he discussed why the concept of being patient obsessed is critical if we are to move the dial in how the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries represent and support patients.

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The perception of patient centricity

An audience poll, which ran during the event, highlighted that 50 percent of the attendees thought the pharma industry believes patient centricity is something to aspire to. Interestingly, only around one in four (24 percent) believe the pharma industry thinks patient centricity is vital to their future success.

We know more companies are striving to represent the patient voice in their work, but this brief poll highlights what we also know – patient centricity is still lacking within pharma culture. This is despite data from our clients that consistently shows how putting the patient experience front and centre yields more successful commercial results.

Become patient obsessed or risk being left behind

The pandemic has changed the way patients wish to engage with their health. Some want more control over how they interact with healthcare services. This is a pivotal shift in the dynamic between patients and the healthcare and pharma industries.

During his talk, Mark discussed how the pharma industry is at a crossroads. Companies can continue as they always have or embrace the idea of ‘patient obsession’. Those that bravely choose the latter will find themselves leaders in this space, making tangible changes to the way they work that will ultimately improve the lives of patients.

Mark said: “If pharma companies don’t put patients at the centre and follow leaders in the other industries that place customers at the heart of everything they do, there is a possibility that they could be left behind or usurped by disruptors coming in.”

Understanding people as individuals

Mark also spoke about how those working in the healthcare and pharma sectors can start to truly understand the lives of patients. This is the vital first step towards putting patients at the heart of care, services, projects, clinical trials and corporate culture.

We know there are some negative connotations associated with the word ‘obsession’, but within the realm of healthcare, being fixated on patients – their challenges, worries, needs etc. – is no bad thing. The only way to really understand a patient’s mindset is to experience what they experience.

Immersive simulations, such as the ones we offer as part of A Life in a Day, allow people to step into the shoes of a patient and experience challenges that they typically face on a daily basis.

Using a mix of challenges delivered via a smartphone app, a physical kit of items to help simulate symptoms, live role play and multimedia materials to watch, read and listen to, participants get a unique insight into what it means to live with a chronic condition and the impact it can have on work, family life, friendships and general wellbeing.

Our experiences build empathy, which we know leads to action. And it’s not just relevant for patient engagement teams.

“Since taking part, every time I am asked to support the business in my role in compliance, I really think – how is this going to help the patient? I now have a much clearer understanding of what it actually means from the patient’s perspective.” – Simona, Compliance Head

Using language to inspire and drive action

One of Mark’s final talking points was about the language of patient centricity.

Language matters. It is a powerful tool that can evoke emotion, inspire, and drive action. With a background in theatre and film, we understand the power that putting patient language first can have on creating truly insightful experiences.

We listen to real-world patient stories and share them with our clients in a way that will both inspire and drive better patient-led discussions and decision-making.

Talk to us about our immersive experiences and how they can help you become patient obsessed.

Get in Touch

If you are interested or have questions about A Life in A Day, please reach out and contact us.

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