The Emerging Case for Patient Engagement in Life Science Companies

By Paul Meade, Patient Engagement Lead 

Just a few years ago, it may have seemed an insurmountable barrier for life sciences companies to forge a direct relationship with patients. But today, we see changes in the ability to reach out to patients to capture insights into their journey through the healthcare system. Those companies that can better understand the needs of patients and how these patients can fully engage in their care as an active participant will take a leading-edge role in healthcare. Now more than ever, it’s essential to gather patient insights and incorporate them into your strategic plans.

Open a Dialogue

By reaching out to patients to learn about their health journeys, organizations are improving their efforts in Patient Engagement. For many patients the journey begins well before they enter into the healthcare system, and it extends well beyond their interaction with healthcare providers. For instance, what are the triggers that prompted the patient to seek medical help in the first place, and what are the lifestyle behaviors that need to be changed as a result of a medical intervention? A patient journey for a given disorder is more than a visit to their provider and a prescription for medicine; it can involve several trips to providers and institutions over the course of many years. Understanding what happens to a patient not only while they are inside the healthcare system, but also when they are going through routine life, allows institutions and organizations to design a more complete care program for the entire journey.

A notable new route to capture insights form patients is through social media, whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another platform. For many others, surveys and interviews are effective mechanisms for gleaning their inputs and insights. By engaging with patients on their preferred channels, you will maximize the number of people you can tap into for gaining patient journey insights. For patients to be truly engaged in their health requires knowledge and education about their disorders, a willingness to participate in critical decision making, and an understanding how their emotional state can affect their lifestyle behaviors. Armed with these patient insights will enable companies to design better Patient Engagement programs.

Improve Health Outcomes

Ultimately, life sciences companies can play a role in the improvement of patient outcomes by developing and maintaining a deeper understanding of the patient and provider relationship. Surviving and thriving after a diagnosis usually goes beyond having a pill to take. For example, patients face many challenges in their lives and in getting the right treatments, for a number of reasons.  Often, when you map the patient journey (which includes but is not limited to provider interactions), you find concerns and challenges arising from family dynamics and support systems, financial issues, and community resources.

There is a growing body of evidence pointing to the fact that higher patient engagement results in better health outcomes for patients. According to a survey from AARP, engaged patients had higher satisfaction, healthier habits, and better adherence to their prescribed medical treatment. As physicians and other healthcare professionals dedicate themselves to patient engagement, all stakeholders—life science companies included—can close gaps and disparities that leave some behind as others flourish.

Again, the more your life science company understands about the patient and provider relationship in your therapeutic area, the more you’re able to positively impact patient engagement and become a better partner improving health outcomes.

Our Patient Engagement Solutions

At Thought Leader Select, we use a wide range of tools to help you better understand the role of the patient as they navigate through the healthcare system. With the help of patient flow mapping, patient journey mapping, patient feedback loops, and digital/social listening, we can help you generate insights that will improve Patient Engagement and the health outcomes of patients. Contact us today to learn more.

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