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A Quick Guide to Patient Centricity in Pharma

Work in the life sciences industry is inherently patient-centric, but it’s ultimately how the patient is brought into focus that is important. Organizations produce life-saving treatments, medications, devices, and services, but do their employees feel empowered by the knowledge that they’re making a difference in patients’ lives? Establishing an organizational definition and vision for patient centric pharma is a key first step to integrating it into the business – and to ensuring organizations reap the full benefits of patient centricity. It’s important for life science organizations – whether pre-commercial or big pharma – to create a definition of patient centricity and mold it to fit the company’s culture and voice. It may seem small, but rooting understanding in a central definition provides the ability to reference a known truth and spark employee motivation.  

Once a central definition is established, the next step is encouraging employees to see how their role exemplifies holding the patient as their focus. Once employees see themselves as having an active role, they will feel more engaged in their work. Research shows that more engaged employees are not only more efficient and effective at what they do, but they also stay longer with the organization, which allows companies to retain and nurture the human capital associated with their intellectual property. It is a business benefit to establish and integrate patient centricity as a core focus of life sciences businesses.  

After employees feel excited and empowered to do their work because they recognize their “why” and the impact they have on patients, the next step is to help them see how they can modify or amplify their current activities to put the patient at the center. Consider five ways to remind them and continue to instill patient centricity in pharma: 

Steps to Build Patient Centricity 


Challenges to Adopting a Foundation of Patient Centric Pharma

Building a foundational understanding and mission around patient centricity is key to change management and employee engagement. In our work with life science companies, the three biggest challenges we see to adopting a genuine focus of patient centric pharma are:  

  1. Employees personally feel that patient centricity is important, but they don’t see a united sentiment that their organization prioritizes initiatives that move the organization toward best-in-class, patient-centric activities.   
  2. Employees are worried that patient centricity will be an additional ask on top of their daily activities. 
  3. Internal and external messaging dances around the idea of patient centricity, leaving it to be implied rather than explicitly stated as an organizational tenet and focus.  

The steps discussed so far will mitigate these three challenges. Establishing and socializing a core patient centricity definition demonstrates a united front that the entire patient lifecycle and activities – beyond launching life-saving therapies to market – are a priority to the organization. Further, explaining how patient centricity is an existing pillar of employees’ roles and responsibilities and working together to identify where employees are already being patient-centric will alleviate the barrier of thought that patient centricity is “extra work” and replace it with the mindset that, rather, it’s integral in their daily role.  

Solving challenges #1 and #2 inherently will help solve challenge #3: As employees and leaders in the business can speak to a central definition and understand their role and goals of patient centricity, they will see the value of incorporating it into communication until it’s integrated and expected of all employees and business efforts. 

Clarkston’s Approach to Patient Centric Pharma 

These insights were derived from Clarkston Consulting’s unique in- and out-of-industry research approach. We looked not only at clients and companies who excel in patient centricity to learn about their approach and what works well for them to achieve their patient-centric goals, but we also leveraged out-of-industry resources to see how non-life sciences companies were excelling in customer focus and delivery. We investigated companies with strong customer loyalty to mirror the idea of patient adherence.  

For example, we used familiar examples like Trader Joe’s and Chick-fil-a as inspiration for what best-in-class might look like around customer centricity. These two brands have been historically – and consistently – known for top-tier customer experience and loyalty, so we considered how their tactics and points of focus (like customer relationship and trust) transfer to exemplary patient centricity for a specialty pharmaceutical company. This approach provides a well-rounded perspective for how our clients can best execute against their patient-centric goals without following the exact tide of what their competitors are doing. 

For strategic advice on promoting patient centricity in your organization and propelling your organization along the patient centricity maturity model to drive impact and transformation, please contact us today to learn more about our strategy consulting services. 

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Tags: Life Sciences Trends, Strategic Innovation, Digital Patient Engagement, Digital Strategy, Marketing and Media Services