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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s patient centricity!

Findings from DayOne Experts on “Patient Centricity” in close collaboration with Co-Host Mark Dangel, Arcondis.

Decades ago, Economist Peter Drucker, famously stated: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” And thus: “Marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”. Eventually in the eighties this wisdom became overshadowed by the dogma of shareholder value, only to re-emerge in the early 2000s following Steve Job’s magical resurrection of Apple, coining the concept of “customer centricity” as the new mantra of business success.

Millions of design thinking workshops and zillions of Post-it stickers later, the concept eventually made its way into healthcare. What would seem obvious (what else is healthcare for, if not for patients?) was soon perceived as a nascent revolution in the industry. But what does “patient centricity” really mean and how is it actually done? This was the driving question of the DayOne Experts Meeting taking place on October 30 in Basel, co-hosted by Arcondis.

The speaker line-up and discussion brought views from different angles to the topic. One common denominator throughout the evening was that “patient centricity” as such will remain a mere concept unless it is practised. And this means empowering, engaging and actually involving the patient in all parts of the healthcare value chain. Everybody on stage agreed that, in this respect, patient centricity still has a long way to go, although initial approaches seem promising.

And this is what we learned:

– It’s not philanthropy – it’s business: As the low-hanging fruit has been harvested and pipelines are becoming more challenging to refill, the industry is focussing on real-world evidence beyond the clinical outcomes in order to demonstrate the true value of a therapeutic intervention. Therefore, involving patients early on (and not just when preparing for market access) will have to become part of the future pharma business model.

– Patient-relevant outcomes – the big unknown: The biggest challenge in “patient-centric” approaches is how to bridge the gap between clinical outcomes and what really matters to patients. Firstly, the latter, which is subsumed under the heading “patient-relevant outcomes” reveals a new world of data that is messy and noisy, but has somehow to be integrated into the strict scientific world of clinical outcomes. Secondly, what matters to one patient will not necessarily matter to all patients, so the personalization of patient-relevant outcomes to a certain extent is essential.

– Long-term value – but instant gratification: The big assumption behind patient centricity is that the patient actually wants to be involved and engaged. But this is not a given, especially since it requires the effort of self-reporting and providing personal data while trusting that the other parties involved will not misuse the data. Unless the patient can see a clear value of becoming involved, there will be no buy in. Given that in many cases the value of monitoring a person’s health state will only become clear in the long term, the industry has to show creativity in also building instant gratification into its apps and services.

We are grateful to Arcondis for co-hosting this event and extend a big word of thanks to all the speakers for their most valuable contributions and for sharing their insights:

Mitchell Silva,

Nora Zetsche, Veta Health

Johannes Mosbacher, School of Life Sciences, FHNW

Gurmit Sandhu, Patient Engagement Specialist

Laurie Riguccini, Soladis

Our next DayOne Experts will take place on December 3.

Interested in seeing the presentations and what we discussed? Please find them here.