Connecting stakeholders, expressing value: Insights from the inaugural WCG Access Roundtable

Posted by: in Communication Strategy, Healthcare Insights, Integrated Communications, Medical Communications on July 21, 2011
WCG Access Roundtable

WCG Access Roundtable

In my previous post, I mentioned what I think has to be the Holy Grail for pharmaceutical companies in an era of increasing economic pressures balanced by empowered patient action: supporting access for their products, making the most of budgets and truly delivering education and action in an inclusive and interactive way.

The recent WCG Access Roundtable brought me right back to that thought.

Expressing value beyond product for each stakeholder, including the empowered patient

We heard from Mike Sobanja that solutions for individual patients don’t always deliver the best for the whole population – i.e those making budgetary decisions often have to take a societal view of value. Defining both wellbeing and the value of healthcare is therefore key to supporting patients’ access to the best healthcare. This begs the question: with patients wanting the best for them as an individual, and payors looking at the best for many, how can we support healthcare professionals in explaining this dichotomy to a patient?

Understanding and supporting patient needs

The industry and companies like WCG have a role to help healthcare professionals understand the language patients use, and what’s really important to them. Three forces are impacting the information healthcare professionals provide to patients and the discussion that ensues: 1) there is just so much more information out there these days; 2) healthcare systems are increasing the drive for patient choice; 3) due to the current economic and human environment payors and policymakers must focus on promoting self care. So we need to support healthcare professionals in ensuring patients get the best information, with meaning for them, and are able to absorb it and act on it, without feeling let down by the system.

Inclusive and interactive education

We heard from Helen Johnston that in the UK, the role of NICE is shifting from examining individual products to look at the broader clinical / patient pathway. So, how can we support this communication of value at each stage in the pathway, for the most relevant stakeholders?

These questions are precisely why WCG’s approach to medical education aims to deliver tailored programs for each healthcare professional along the pathway the patient takes through management, and to support these professionals in the ongoing dialogue they are having with patients.

Going beyond explaining the primary data to understanding and delivering value

When discussing the inherent values of delivering scientific innovation compared with improving patient management and outcomes, Jon Sussex and Mike Sobanja hit upon another fascinating point, which was clarified by Helen Johnson when she explained that the value beyond product must be communicated to meet all the audiences’ information needs – we must make the case for patient and healthcare system value not just the main data points.

This is why WCG’s approach to product communications and medical education is founded on a cross-functional approach – working with all functions in a client’s company. There is important information to help communicate the value of a solution for patients not only sitting with the medical team from the clinical trials, but also with the original development team, market research, heath economics and outcomes research, and advocacy relations.

Working together to support access

The panel also discussed the importance of collaborations and partnerships between advocacy, industry, and health providers, which for me reinforces the need to look towards new, more rigorous and ethical forms of medical education and patient education. You’ll be hearing more on that from me soon.

By: Zoe Healey

Group Director, WCG London

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