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May 7, 2024

Amplifying patient voices in pharma

Medical affairs leaders discuss the state of patient engagement and how technology might change it.
amplify patient voices

The role of patients in drug development is evolving. No longer passive recipients of care, patients are more involved than ever – right from the earliest stages of research and development. This shift towards patient-focused drug development has sparked a growing interest to amplify patient voices among pharma leaders.

At the recent MAPS Americas event, medical affairs experts gathered to explore the intricacies of patient engagement in the age of technological advancements. Led by Within3 CEO Lance Hill and experts Lucie Williams of Ipsen and Jose Borbolla of Eisai, the workshop examined the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Challenges of patient engagement and interaction

One of the first roadblocks workshop participants discussed is the complexity surrounding ownership of patient engagement within pharma organizations. This internal struggle can lead to disjointed efforts and hamper the effectiveness of engagement initiatives. Moreover, issues like patient distrust of pharma or the medical establishment, access barriers like language differences, and the dearth of information on rare diseases further compound the challenge of engaging patients across different channels. Related: learn more about the benefits of virtual collaboration and interaction.

Technology as a solution

Despite these challenges, technology is a promising ally in improving patient engagement. In the workshop, medical affairs leaders discussed what’s worked and what hasn’t, from engaging with patients via social media to traditional AI-driven analytics and generative AI. Many participants see potential with the advent of AI-powered chatbots and simulators to open new avenues for patient interaction and haven’t given up on social media platforms as a way of connecting with patients on a meaningful level.

Leveraging opportunities

During the discussion, participants were asked to brainstorm potential solutions and match the challenges they experienced with the technology they were investigating. They discussed tailoring engagement strategies, ensuring data quality and compliance, and proactively addressing patient privacy concerns.

By embracing these opportunities, organizations can foster deeper connections with patients and glean valuable insights to inform their decision-making processes.

Moving forward with a better plan for patients

Participants remained rooted in reality when asked about concrete steps to take now. Tactical steps like educating internal stakeholders about the benefits of AI, fostering collaboration across departments, and maintaining compliance with regulatory standards topped the list of ideas. The group came to a consensus around adopting a comprehensive, collaborative, and compliant approach to confidently navigate the complexities of patient engagement.

To see in-workshop poll results and get a list of the key highlights from the discussions, download the summary.

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