What Does It Mean To Be Patient Centric?

Almost every Pharma company today calls itself “patient centric”.  But how many truly put their patients first or have patients at the heart of their business model?

Here are 24 things Pharma-or any company for that matter-can do to get closer to being patient centric:

  1. Listen to your patients/customers. They often know what’s important. Social Media has made this much easier to do.
  2. Converse with patients…on-going if possible. Dialog is more than pushing out one-way messages…
  3. View the world through their eyes–as they see it-not as you want it to be. Try living in their shoes…
  4. Provide impeccable customer service 24/7–answer the phones, consider live web customer service. ‘The customer is always right.’
  5. Provide real- time product updates  as new information becomes available; the good, the bad and the ugly (efficacy and safety).
  6. Provide easy to understand information about your products’ benefits and risks. Might you explore use of the drug facts box? (Patient Risk Communication FDA Advisory Meeting
  7. Charge a fair price.  Show real world value to work place productivity and QOL.
  8. Focus on adding value to people’s lives with every touch.
  9. Educate patients and caregivers. Knowledge is their power.
  10. Provide products with meaningful points of difference; does the world need yet another X? Offer products and services that provide meaningful value — people will pay.
  11. Initiate clinical trials that provide new, helpful information-including comparative information.
  12. Provide services that make it easy or cost effective for trial and use of your products.
  13. Treat people like humans. Provide real time human touches…some with healthcare backgrounds to help guide patient treatment experience and results.
  14. Engender trust through consistent behavior and commitment; honest answers too.
  15. Create community for your patients to thrive, learn and to help others like themselves.
  16. Give back to the consumers and communities in which you operate. (Often this can also have a positive effect on your physician customer base.)
  17. Advocate for your patients whenever possible. They may reciprocate.
  18. Demonstrate that you know your customers; give them unique, ideally personalized products or services that provide insight and new information or support.
  19. Show gratitude to your customers- it’s often greatly appreciated.
  20. Initiate conversations and provide information in a customer’s preferred language
  21. Take an environmental view of processes and products from beginning to end.
  22. Meet or beat customer expectations with each encounter; delight your customers…
  23. Keep it simple. Strive for the elegant solution; subtract more than you add…
  24. Make caring for the consumer the job of each and every person.

Which ones do you think warrant the most attention? Are there others you’d like to add?

Being customer centric requires a fierce focus on the customer from beginning to end and every point in between.  Customer centricity isn’t a fad.  It’s a cornerstone of all successful businesses and a source of competitive advantage.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” – Sam Walton

When A.G. Lafely (Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble) needed to turn the P&G ship around, the first thing he firmly re-established was the longtime “Consumer-is-Boss” standard.  In his book The Game-Changer (which I highly recommend), he outlined his goal this way:

“Our goal at P&G is to delight our consumers at two “moments of truth”; first, when they buy a product, and second, when they use it. To achieve that we live with our consumers and see the world and opportunities for new-product initiatives through their eyes….Consumers are now at the center of every key decision we make in a routine and disciplined, not episodic way.”  – A.G. Lafely

While we in pharma have a physician intermediary–responsible for providing medical treatment advice and writing the actual prescription, Lafely’s point still holds true.  We can do a better job bringing the consumer into the center of the pharmaceutical development and marketing process.  We can do a better job educating and accelerating the conversations between patient and physician, developing treatments that provide meaningful clinical benefits that we communicate in a simple and effective way, and helping to insure the optimal patient experience and result…

Increasingly, the growth of generics is telling us that the healthcare consumer is and will continue to vote with their pocketbook…