Pharma Can Help Transform Patient Centricity in 2024

Commentary
Article

True patient centricity treats the whole patient and places an emphasis on broader patient engagement and satisfaction.

Whatever the industry’s claims about prioritizing patient needs, only 45% of healthcare practitioners believe biopharmaceutical (pharma) companies provide a high level of patient centricity today.1 Health care professionals have also shown interest in pharma companies playing a more active role in improving patients’ overall health care experience, beyond the delivery and impact of medicine.

In 2024, increased patient centricity—driven by patient empowerment, accelerated personalized therapies, and regulatory mandates—will become a focus for life sciences organizations, challenging the status quo. From a pharma perspective, this is about focusing as much on the patient journey and overall quality of life as it is on making sure they can access treatments that address their symptoms. This shift will require a dynamic flow of data and information to empower patients (and their caregivers) to make informed decisions about their care.

Room for Growth in Patient Centricity Efforts

Although pharma companies may consider themselves patient centric because they are delivering products that treat people’s symptoms, true patient centricity is about ensuring optimal patient outcomes, by seeing and treating the whole patient and placing an emphasis on broader patient engagement and satisfaction.

To drive up patient centricity in 2024, pharma companies will need to:

  • Undertake research, prioritizing patient needs and preferences;
  • Create educational resources that empower patients to make informed decisions;
  • Collaborate with patient advocacy groups to gain fresh insights and perspective;
  • Establish patient support services to address ongoing needs; and
  • Foster strong partnerships with health care providers to ensure more holistic care.

AI-powered Technology & Real-World Data Will Provide the Key

Technology, particularly intelligent solutions that harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), provide a powerful enabler of patient centricity. For example, AI/ML can help to enable teams within and across pharma companies and health care providers to organize their decisions and actions around the needs of the patient. That’s as long as all teams can share and access information readily and securely via a single, joined-up platform.

Technology, particularly intelligent solutions that harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), provide a powerful enabler of patient centricity. Image Credit: © wladimir1804 - stock.adobe.com

Technology, particularly intelligent solutions that harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), provide a powerful enabler of patient centricity. Image Credit: © wladimir1804 - stock.adobe.com

Take a hypothetical use case where technology helps foster patient self-advocacy. Perhaps a patient is self-injecting with medication for osteoporosis, but encounters a broken needle, which in turn causes swelling, a rash, and a headache. Using a QR code on the injection package, that patient can access an online resource detailing the drug’s information, while also reporting adverse effects (AEs) and the needle issue. The same platform then facilitates the shipment of a replacement, shares symptoms with the patient’s health care provider, and alerts the pharma company to possible quality issues with the equipment or AEs linked to ingredients used in the medication. Other teams tasked with regulatory compliance and monitoring literature, scientific studies, and journals also have access to details of the patient’s experience.

Proactive Signal Detection

Technology also enables signal detection, for instance making it smarter and more proactive, harnessing a broader range of data. Having a single platform that manages all information in one place, rather than across disparate platforms, helps stakeholders, including safety teams, leverage individual patient safety reports (ICSR), real-world data (RWD), and medical literature to monitor and analyze signals more accurately and efficiently.

By linking ICSR signals (point-in-time data) with tokenized (protected) real-world data, the platform constructs a longitudinal patient story, eliminating the need for direct contact with a provider and enabling an in-depth investigation into the potential causes of a particular AE to a medication.

Smart, proactive signal detection harnessing AI/ML technology across a range of reliable data sets enables timely and accurate submission of aggregated safety reports and expedites literature screening. An intuitive, intelligent, and unified technology platform can also proactively surface relevant results from additional subscriptions, such as those shared by others that are conducting similar searches, which can promote information sharing which, again, benefits patients. Discoveries during this process could be positive ones, too – for instance, discoveries may highlight the potential for drug repurposing, as unexpected benefits are revealed.

Industry regulators are striving for greater patient centricity and safer and more effective patient outcomes too, so pharma companies would benefit from taking action now to ensure they are meeting the latest standards. Technology used by both pharma companies and health care organizations can demonstrate as well as support enhanced efforts to prioritize the patient experience, by empowering teams to analyze product data across a global product portfolio to identify potential effects from a signal and also act on those signals.

The added benefit of being smarter about patient centricity is the repetitive work it can save over-extended pharma functions. Where multiple submissions to global health authorities are involved, requiring a high volume of work, an AI-powered platform can reliably automate numerous steps in the process, including assigning tasks for human review and distributing information to the relevant stakeholders.

2024 will usher in a new era for pharmacovigilance, with patient priorities and improved patient outcomes firmly at the center. This will be supported by the latest, AI-powered technology applied to a broader range of information sources, including real-world data, which will become an important and powerful ally in the quest for safer and more effective drugs.

About the Author

Beena Wood is chief officer of safety and medical products at ArisGlobal. Wood has been building IT solutions for 3 decades, and led engineering and product management teams. In previous roles, Wood worked for Oracle for over 18 years leading the Argus Safety Product Management (pharmacovigilance solution) teams, and more recently Anju Software, leading its Medical Affairs domain. Wood is passionate about building solutions that keep patients safe.

REFERENCE

1. Taylor P. Is pharma patient centric? Not according to most doctors. pharmaphorum. March 2, 2023. Accessed January 2, 2024. https://pharmaphorum.com/news/pharma-patient-centric-not-according-most-doctors

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