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A little less conversation

Patient centricity - easy to say, hard to do

Who’s bored with the term patient-centricity? Before you all pull shocked faces, I specifically mean the term patient centricity. How many times have you heard it this year? More than we could possibly count. And how many times have you said it this year? I’m going to bet it’s in double figures.

So for all of those times you’ve said it – did you mean it? If we were all honest with ourselves, how many of those times were we just paying lip service to the notion of it, versus the number of times we said it with a true intention to do something about it. And do we all mean the same thing when we say it?

Ultimately, it’s easy to say, but incredibly hard to do – and do well.

Much like the term is easy to say, it’s also easy for me to criticise those overusing the term; overcommitting to the promise without any real action plan to deliver. So the rest of this article is all about the opposite – less talk, more action.

In a world of promises, commitments and theory, let’s make this real. Let’s disrupt this status quo.

Why should we be patient-centric, and not just say it?

Throughout their lives, patients’ needs are constantly evolving. That means that health solutions must also keep evolving to remain effective. Creating solutions with bespoke content, and content that is responsive to those ever-changing needs, equips patients with better tools to get disease ready. Supporting them through the ever-changing stages of their unique journey means better outcomes and longer, healthier lives. That’s something we can’t ignore.

Over 50% of those more actively involved in their healthcare think it has improved their health

How should we do it?

It’s simple – let patients lead the way. From insight, through intervention strategy, to solution co-design, optimising and testing, it’s the patients who drive the decision-making. But how?

  • Listen: Whether that’s through interviews, social listening, video diaries, ethnographic research, or online patient focus groups – listen to the real experiences of living with a condition
  • Co-create: Bring that insight and understanding into a working group with patients. Our job as agency and pharma is to bring inspiration, stretch the boundaries of ‘what could be’, and facilitate a multi-stakeholder process that co-creates a solution that will ultimately survive. Through co-creation techniques, you can get the very best thinking out of those people you bring into the room
  • Be prepared to fail: Once a solution is defined, our job is to make it a reality. Be that a digital tool, a communications programme, a support initiative – we have to put it on the table and ask our patient audience if it’s good enough. And they will be honest. If it’s not good enough, we’ll start again, and we’ll do it better.

What does success look like if we do it?

It’s simple – better outcomes for patients. But how do we measure that? This needs to be defined upfront, depending on the need
that has been identified. But for every need, there is a measure of success.

Some examples:

  • Patient empowerment: using the patient activation measure (PAM), we can assess changes in patients’ active involvement in their health by scoring knowledge, skills and confidence before, during and after implementation of any solution
  • Adherence: tracking and reporting drug adherence through the solution we implement, eg in-app pop-ups, online trackers, email tracking with HCP
  • Communications: ranking the quality of patient-HCP conversation through a series of bespoke criteria can enable us to see improvement and areas for continued optimisation.

At Frontera Group, we have one simple proposition: We Speak Patient. This is more than a tagline, it’s a conviction. We know that improved knowledge, skills and confidence lead to better outcomes for patients. We believe, therefore, that patients should be at the heart of every decision and solution design in healthcare. So what do we do? We harness the power of patient insight and patient involvement to ensure our strategies, communications and digital solutions put the patient front and centre.

So, if you’re ready to put the theory into practice, to get serious about patient-centricity, then come talk to the team that does it best.

Sarah Bartlett is Deputy Managing Director at Frontera London. If you want to see how we work, visit:

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5th October 2018

From: Marketing



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