Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Patient Centricity and Snowmageddon

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For most, the predicted snowmageddon of January 2015 did not live up to all the drama and hype. Citizens in the Tri-state area were left wondering how the weather predictors could be so wrong. My favorite tweet came from Steve Keeley of Fox-29 in Philly:

All the overblown storm-hype reminds me of how many online patient influencers see our industry: a lot of talk about patient-centricity with less than impressive results and activity.

Sure, some pharmaceutical companies have found ways to create truly engaging, patient-centric programs, but the majority of Pharma and Device marketers continue to skip-over patient input, renewing their belief in stock photos with shiny, smiling patients and caregivers.

More than seven years of research with patient influencers at WEGO Health has shown that consumers truly appreciate brand programs that reflect the genuine world of the patient. Authentic content is not only appreciated, but shared and exchanged like a currency within online patient communities.

Patient-Centricity, I love you… not
As an industry, it seems like we have a love-hate relationship with patient-centricity.

Many of us living in the world of healthcare marketing are enamored with the idea of creating programs with tangible value from the patient perspective, but despise the difficulties of convincing brand and MLR teams that the risk-benefit equation has much more benefit than risk. Pushing consumer programs through our MLR-filters continues to be a struggle, and the final results sometimes resemble the taste of a milk-toast cracker – flavorless.

Centers of Excellence, or Centers of Empathy?
Maybe we’re approaching this all wrong as an industry. Maybe the true opportunity in creating patient-centric programs comes from within.

Perhaps we should look to adjust the team structures within industry, and rather than support Centers of Excellence we need to create Centers of Empathy that understand the realities of living with Cancer, MS, Depression, COPD, IBD and other chronic conditions. Centers of Empathy that would form Patient Advisory Boards and conduct patient research to truly understand the unique difficulties of coping with a condition, before even starting to build a product.

WEGO Health Patient-Centric Research and Yours
I’m looking forward to disclosing some new research findings about patient-centricity and the opportunities that patient influencers see for industry in creating a more genuine connection with patients.

But, until then, below are a few powerful books written by patient influencers that can help our industry move beyond the patient-centric buzz and better understand the day-to-day realities of the patient journey. And what's better during a nasty winter storm than curling up with a hot beverage and a good book?

Questioning Protocol: An Empowering Toolkit and Personal Memoir
Author and patient influencer Randi Redmond Oster takes the reader on a candid, scary, honest journey from one medical procedure to the next. Readers ride alongside Randi in the ambulance in the middle of night, wait beside her as she stands guard over her son’s gurney while he seizes in an overcrowded emergency room, and root for her as she challenges and questions changing directions from multiple doctors.
It is the 2014 USA Best Book Award winner in health, and two universities are currently using it to teach about the patient perspective.

Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy
Julie Flygare is an author, blogger, runner and patient influencer diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy in 2007. She is the founder of Project Sleep, and is a leading narcolepsy spokesperson. Winner of the San Francisco Book Festival Award for Biography/Autobiography, Wide Awake and Dreaming is a revealing firsthand account of dreams gone wrong with narcolepsy. It’s the brave story of one woman trampling over barriers and finding light in the darkest of circumstances.

MS - Living Symptom Free: The True Story of an MS Patient: A Guide on How to Eat Properly and Live a Healthy Life
Author and MS Health Activist, Daryl H Bryant shares his own challenges, frustrations, anxiety, and ultimate victories in managing MS. His new book shares his stories as a person faced with the disease.

About the author:  Bob Brooks, EVP, WEGO Health will be presenting “The Patient’s Voice: Defining the Opportunity” at ePharma University on 2/24/15.  ePharma will take place February 24-26, 2015 in New York.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2006BL, you can save $100 off current rates.  

For more information about patient influencers, visit:
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