• Healthcare
  • Blog Post

Making Patient-Directed the “New Normal”

Publish Date

18 JUL 2023


Terri Stewart


Patient-centricity is a familiar phrase in the biopharma industry. And the idea of pharmaceutical companies designing treatment experiences around the patient makes sense.

But when we design a healthcare service for patients, on their behalf, we run the risk of making assumptions about them and the way they live their lives – without giving them a direct voice or opportunity to share their perspective.

The best way to avoid this problem is to work hand in hand WITH those patients, ensuring they have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect their treatment and lives. That’s why, instead of placing patients in the middle, we are working to include them in our company’s processes as equal partners by integrating their ‘Lived experience’ – a concept where you can better understand an issue and empathize if you’ve experienced that issue personally.

We’ve coined this approach as patient-directed, and we want it to become the “new normal” in the biopharma industry.

Acting patient-directed is preferred to acting patient-centric, as it involves patients throughout the drug development process and beyond – not simply putting patients at the center of the treatment experience, as a patient-centric approach does, but involving them in the actual design of it, too.

We’ve moved to a patient-directed approach because no one knows better than patients what it’s like to live with a disease. And by listening to them, we can learn so much about how a disease impacts their lives and better understand their day-to-day needs.

We have broken down the patient-directed approach in three key steps:

  • WE LISTEN: We gather insights and experiences from thousands of patients and family caregivers to inform and influence what we do.
  • WE TAKE ACTION: We collaborate with more than 200 patient and caregiver organizations globally to shape our clinical trials, address major public health burdens, and challenge social inequities.
  • WE MAKE A REAL IMPACT: We track how patients’ lives are impacted, for example, through receiving better access to medicines, experiencing improved health outcomes and benefiting from tangible health policy changes.

One example of this approach in action: our collaboration with Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP), a patient-founded non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating research efforts to improve diagnoses, optimizing treatment outcomes, and developing cures for multiple sclerosis (MS). Through this innovative collaboration, individuals living with MS provided feedback on the choice of patient-reported outcome (PRO) endpoints in the trials and insights on patient-facing materials.

To truly succeed in delivering the most impactful therapies, patients need to be part of the answer, working in genuine partnership with us to discover more effective and enduring solutions. And our goal is to achieve this through our patient-directed methodology.