I had the opportunity to participate in the eyeforpharma spring 2018 conference that was held for the first time at the Philadelphia Convention Center. This move is reflective of the growth of this 2-day event, as there were more than 700 attendees (up 15% vs a year ago), with every major biopharmaceutical company (and some minor ones) in attendance (over 100). And while the primary theme of ‘focus on the patient’ has been consistent at recent eyeforpharma conferences, the depth and breadth of the discussions was striking, as well as the degree to which pharma companies now claim that they ‘get it’.
‘For Real’ Patient-Centricity
After many years of talking the talk, it now appears they are walking the walk, from clinical/medical through to commercial innovation. We’ve seen first-hand, the shift to patient centricity and have helped our clients achieve real value through insight-driven experience design enabled by our digital capabilities and our Intelligent Patient Platform. But in this industry forum it was encouraging to see widespread adoption and focus.
I was struck by one of the opening keynote addresses by Jim Robinson, COO of Alkermes, on ‘the empowered patient - building a partnership of trust.’ His company has literally challenged every aspect of their working processes in terms of how it reflects patient centricity while also engaging every functional area. One example he cited was how they changed the informed consent form for clinical trials to use more patient-friendly language, versus the legalese that is intimidating to most clinical trial participants.
Pfizer’s Wendy Mayer, VP Access Strategy & Patient Health Impact, discussed how the company’s Patient First initiative is impacting their commercial approach to access and outcomes-based contracting.
Data Driven Digital Innovation
One panel discussion topic was ‘Is the future of healthcare on your wrist? Optimizing wearables now, not in the future’, with panel participation from Nokia Health, Samsung, Verily, GSK, and Novartis. This is illustrative of the convergence we see with non-traditional platform players increasingly disrupting the healthcare ecosystems.
Additionally, Tom Bramley, President of the Lash Group, presented on ‘How data-driven technology can deliver a more personalized patient experience and robust outcomes’ through their Fusion project. Watch this space for more ground-breaking information on this transformation. I sat in on a very interesting presentation from Sanofi’s Bozi Jovcevic, ‘Gaining competitive advantage with a more holistic solution around your product’. He leads a small but passionate group trying to bring not just adjacent services to the product, but ones that are fully integrated into the offering. This is consistent with findings from our in-depth patient services research that pharma needs to move from a product-focused approach to a holistic brand solutions approach, where services are seamlessly part of the engagement model.
Bringing Experience Design to Patient Services
The Accenture team from Fjord and Intelligent Patient Solutions hosted a workshop, Creating Game-Changing Patient Experiences Using Design Thinking, with 40 participants from multiple clients including Allergan, Merck, GSK, Horizon, J&J, Lilly, Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, Genentech, and Abbvie. We introduced the participants to the Accenture Patient X-Lab, our end-to-end transformational service, powered by Accenture Interactive and our Intelligent Patient Platform. Our team facilitated the many brand leaders through a high-level design exploratory to ideate new solutions for diabetes patients, and by the energy evident in the room (see pictures below), we demonstrated our ability to help them co-create services, even in a very short workshop. One participant from Allergan was so jazzed by the experience, she asked us to text her the outputs drawn on the worksheets, so she could share with her team.
Over the two days, there were many presentations that reinforced the role that enhanced data gathering and analytics (including artificial intelligence) is already playing in helping pharma companies generate patient insights that can then inform commercial decisions and development of digital engagement approaches. In fact, there was an entire ‘track’ around Insight Generation across both days. In summary, the take away is that the pharma industry appears to be fully embracing patient centricity as a strategic imperative, and that is good news for all of us as professionals enabling this transformation and as patients.