Patient-centricity: opinions are divided? Three points of view three realities

Posted on August 28, 2015

Patient-centricity: opinions are divided? Three points of view three realities

As the Sun is the center of our solar system, the patient has recently become the center of Health Care Universe. For many years, pharm companies and healthcare providers were concentrated on hospitals, but as everything around us develops over time, old views, methods and strategies didn`t stand still as well. The healthcare delivery system has undergone radical changes and transformed into a customer-driven “patient-centricity” model. Never before had patients received so much attention. Pharm companies, physicians, specialists, hospitals – everything is turning around one planet, and the name of this planet – Patient. 

Judy Murphy, CNO, Director-Global Business Services at IBM Healthcare:

“For centuries we had a hospital-centric view; an illness-based model, where the majority of care was provided in hospitals, when we were ill. In the last few decades, that model had migrated to a more continuum of care view; a wellness/health maintenance model, where emphasis of care is outside the hospital in other venues such as outpatient, ambulatory/clinic and home care.”

Such system, undoubtedly, seems to be an ideal one. An ideal model requires well-organized workflow between each participant, direct access and support. To understand the main clients` preferences and needs, find the best approach to each of them, show them patience, trust, and incredible willing of helpfulness and understanding – sounds good, but, is too good to be true. 

There are three main participants of patient engagement process: pharm companies, providers and patients. Each has its own interests, thoughts and received benefits from the aforesaid model. Let`s take a deeper look.

Pharmaceutical companies believe:

- the key to success is the determination of patient`s needs and preferences, while developing a better understanding is a critical capability of company`s marketing strategy.

- patient-centricity – is a completely new approach, which leads company to prosperity and success.

- patients will have enormous benefit from their help.

The graphic from Eyeforpharma Industry Checkup Survey reveals that almost 85% of pharma executives agree that patient centricity is one of the best method to maximize profits, although one respondent pointed out: “there is a huge gap and disconnect here between intent and action.”

The phrase “patient engagement” can be misleading, in this case. It doesn’t determine if specific medical assistance was needful or not for the patient, we also are not aware of exact method implementation, except, what pharma says. If OVER 70% of pharma professionals are absolutely sure that their company is patient centric, why only 6% of patients agreed with them? 

Patients complain:

"I am not a statistic."

"I am not a target, market or graphic."

"I am not data."

"I am a person, a mom, a daughter, a butcher, a teacher.

Who just happens to have type 2 diabetes.

Who happens to have high cholesterol.

Who has high blood pressure."

“The most common term that I heard from nurses in particular was that, “I am too busy, I will do it later, and later never came.” (Daughter who complained on behalf of her mother)

“I just wanted to make sure no one else suffered in the same way again. Sadly, I don`t believe anything at all was done… In the end I simply gave up” (Family member)

“I no longer had the strength to carry on complaining.” (Patient)

Nowadays, patients are treated more as source of information or indicators, which can be effectively used in commercial interests. Let`s not forget that a patient is not data points, statistics, graphics in the hand of pharma, they are individuals, who need not intention, but real action. Patient-centricity is about the service provided with love, care and understanding. Understanding of the main client`s preferences, needs and their expectations. Understanding of their deeply rooted cultural values and believes, when you are trying not only to listen, but to hear; not only to watch, but to see, and finally, not only to know, but to realize, understand and implement in all the way round.

Providers answer:

“Patients have the power of digital technology to fuel their quest for better health, which is forcing the industry to keep pace with their digital needs.” (Source: “Digital Patients”) 

Richard Nordstrom, Liberate Health:

“Pharma has a responsibility to place digital tools and content into the hands of clinicians, which will help improve patient health outcomes.”

Dr. Jonathan Sheldon, Oracle Health Sciences:

“New technologies create innovative ways to effectively use normalized data from disparate sources to enhance clinical care.”

Chuck Parker, Executive Director at Continua Health Alliance: 

"The goal of connected health is to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare products and services and provide flexible opportunities for consumers to engage with clinicians and to better self manage their care. As the industry evolves, connected health will become a reality. Life sciences companies have an opportunity to play an important role in supporting the adoption of connected health initiatives.” 

Only by conducting interactive care, such as post-discharge calls almost 74% has the reduction in heart failure readmission rates. For example, patients who receive a post-discharge call rank their care in 90%, while those who don`t receive those rank their care in 30%. Let`s turn to the main point of the results: physicians say interactive care improve patient satisfaction on 43% and that is what really matters. Such type of engagement really makes difference.

In addition, the researches proved that more than 68% of patients are online several hours a day and prefer pharmaceutical companies reach them predominantly through digital channels. Mostly, they look for information about:

- medication (80%);

- chronic conditions (75%);

- healthcare services (71%);

- illnesses (65%).

It means that they really want to get more information about the usage of medication, specific illness. How easy is for the person to find a right source in a global network? Maybe, it would be quicker if they were connected to a personal healthcare eco-system, which unites all stakeholders in one workflow with a possibility of direct access? Digital marketing indeed can turn the whole process into the area of new opportunities, but only if to use it wisely.