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Medical Communications 2017: Patient Co-Design

Find out how to use co-design/co-creation to ensure patients, HCPs and pharma brands are all given a voice

As the demand on health services increases, there’s an ever more pressing need for three-way medical communications between pharma, HCPs, and patients. Part of this need stems from the pressure on existing services, but an equally large part comes from the fact that patients are now better educated about their medical conditions educated about their medical conditions and treatments than they were in the past.   
Patients want to be involved in the care process, to feel listened to, included, and in control. Co-design helps pharma and healthcare professionals find ways to involve patients in their treatment, prevention, management, and understanding of the illnesses and conditions that beset them. Gaining deeper understanding of the patient journey through every stage of an illness also allows for more meaningful marketing interactions, as well as streamlining and bringing about practical changes in the everyday patient experience with drugs and services. 

Connecting clinical priorities with human needs 

No treatment or health care plan can be said to be truly patient-centric if it doesn’t involve the patient’s thoughts, opinions and ideas from the outset. Co-design takes into account the perspectives of both the patients (or service users) and the professionals who deliver them.  It creates a platform for shared responsibility, but does not move patients towards total self-management without medical care, or undermine professional, clinical expertise.  Conducted properly, co-design opens conversations between care designers and the end users. These conversations can change priorities, focus minds, and ultimately build stronger, more trusting relationships between pharma who produce the drugs, the clinicians who administer and prescribe them, and patients who use them. 


Patient-centricity has become something of a buzzword, but it should be much more. Co-design, or co-creation as it’s also sometimes called, breathes life into the phrase, showing how pharma companies take medical communications with patients seriously: that they actually ‘walk the talk’, understanding problems and improving services and treatments.  Talking to patients can have many benefits to pharma, including: 

  • Creating real connections with patients: not just offering drugs or treatments, but demonstrating understanding of patient’s feelings that can lead to isolation, especially in cases of rare or chronic illness. 
  • Creating empathy: pharma and patients are at opposite ends of the same pole, and co-creation can help them bridge the divide, bringing insights into each other’s contribution to treating and managing disease or illness. 
  • Creating ongoing interaction: co-creation isn’t a one-off exercise but an ongoing collaboration that involves patients at all stages of treatment, from diagnosis to recovery. 

Co-design compliance 

Building trust with patients requires a high degree of authenticity in both attitude and practice, so co-design needs to be, and is, compliant. Involving regulatory and legal teams from the outset of the co-design process is vital so compliance underpins efforts to include the patient’s voice in building future care solutions. 

You can read the rest of this article here: or download the full magazine on this page.


  Spotlight On... Medcomms 2017
PDF File: 1004.3 KB

25th January 2017


  Spotlight On... Medcomms 2017
PDF File: 1004.3 KB



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