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Jo Fearnhead-Wymbs A year in the role as patient engagement director

A year of patient-cenricity… helping our clients have an even greater impact on patient outcomes
1 May 2016… For me, a new day, a new title and new responsibilities as Patient Engagement Director across Ashfield Healthcare Communications. And on day one we were already talking to clients at several pharma companies who had immediate needs for our services and support on their top priorities in patient engagement in 2016.

So before long I was on a plane to begin planning in earnest for the patient-focused strategic support they wanted to commission and to be delivered immediately (no settling in time then!). I was really excited to be helping our clients shape their patient engagement strategies and plan how they can deliver now and in the future.


A month into my role
We’ve had some really productive meetings with multiple internal teams across our agencies to discuss client needs across many disease areas, working to identify how we can engage with patients throughout the drug development life cycle. We’ve also agreed to sponsor the eyeforpharma Patient Summit taking place in London in October this year, and we’re already starting to think about what we can share with the audience during our plenary session to add value to the event and the wider patient-centricity conversation.


I spent a valuable day at the EUPATI patient conference, with the added bonus that I had some ‘thinking time’ on the train which allowed me to start drafting our first white paper ‘From Ideals To Execution’, exploring the realities of patient-centricity and what’s next for pharma.


Finally, it’s been great to spend time working with colleagues at Ashfield Clinical developing a series of high-quality patient materials to complement one of their patient support programmes – it was inspiring to work with a group of dedicated and professional Ashfield nurses who work with patients every day with a focus on improving patient outcomes and experience.


July 2016

With further updates going live on the guidance surrounding the EU lay summaries requirement, we’ve been discussing best practice and health literacy, and highlighting options with clients. As summer approaches, July has been another busy month with training for new starters and our internal cross Ashfield Healthcare Communications summer ‘best practice fete’ – this gave me an opportunity to talk to colleagues about what patient engagement delivers for patients, clients and for us.

Excitingly, we are collaborating with one of our clients on a Kollider ‘hackathon’ innovation event, ‘Partnership Initiative’, assembling eight teams of six people: experts from Ashfield and our client, including our best innovative thinkers, business specialists and creative brains. An exhausting but exhilarating two days at the hackathon.


July will also see the publication of our patient-centricity white paper, and our first patient-centricity webinar ‘What’s next for patient-centricity? How do we know when we are truly patient-centric?’ with pharmaphorum. It’s still available on demand if you didn't catch it the first time around.




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This article was published by Ashfield Healthcare Communications, part of UDG Healthcare plc. 

22nd June 2017

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