Alira Health

Alira Health

Understanding the Benefits of Systematic and Consistent Patient Engagement

With systematic and consistent patient engagement, you involve patients in a continuous manner throughout all the phases of product development and in all your processes, so patients can access tailored treatments, developed and communicated in alignment with their needs.

In this article, Giulia Pierini, Principal, Patient Engagement at Alira Health, discusses the importance of a systematic patient engagement strategy that ultimately benefits all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.

Published on:
July 1, 2024
Written by:
Giulia Pierini
A Systematic Approach to Patient Engagement Defined

Today, companies often perform specific activities with patients at certain milestones of product development, for example, interacting with patients at the clinical phase to verify the feasibility of a clinical protocol or to co-create an informed consent. These are fundamental activities, but on their own, they don’t constitute a systematic patient engagement strategy. Rather than applying a tactic to understand one specific issue, you should make patients part of your entire product development strategy.

A systematic approach to patient engagement means consistent patient involvement in product development, starting with research and development (R&D) and moving through clinical, regulatory, market access, pre-launch, and post-launch. Patient insights are the point of reference at each phase.

A highly effective patient engagement strategy ideally begins at the R&D phase, and through it, you:

  • continuously engage with patients through planned touchpoints along the entire product lifecycle, going deeper into their needs, preferences, symptomatology, and impacts on quality of life, and strive to understand their preferences for and opinions about a new treatment.
  • align patient data with company goals, product characteristics, treatment potential, and product pre- and post-launch strategies.
  • leverage this alignment in cross-functional communication with stakeholders to showcase the improvements the product is expected to bring to the standard of care.
Success in the clinical, regulatory, and market access phases benefits patients by accelerating access to new treatments. Patient involvement throughout the product lifecycle gives them a voice in the process and empowers them to ensure that all stakeholders understand their disease burden and unmet needs.
Giulia Pierini Principal, Patient Engagement
Strategic Patient Engagement Benefits All Stakeholders

Pharma and biotech companies that engage in strategic patient engagement have chances to achieve better recruitment and retention in clinical trials. You can find enough qualified patients, keep them in the trial, and avoid delays, restarts, and resubmission of protocols. You can also benefit from faster approval and shorter time to launch because your patient-centric data and value proposition are more convincing for authorities.

Regulators and payers benefit from your systematic engagement with patients because they receive detailed information on the patient perspective. When you present clinical data to authorities, that’s effective. When you present a patient-focused value proposition to authorities, it’s generally well received. But when you link the clinical benefit expected from the treatment with evidence of the impact on patient needs and quality of life, that’s a truly powerful story that can persuade authorities to act more rapidly in your favor.

Success in the clinical, regulatory, and market access phases benefits patients by accelerating access to new treatments. Patient involvement throughout the product lifecycle gives them a voice in the process and empowers them to ensure that all stakeholders understand their disease burden and unmet needs.

A subtle but important benefit is that your involvement with patients helps you to develop a common language to talk about not only clinical endpoints but specific, measurable improvements in patients’ quality of life. When patients, companies, regulators, payers, and healthcare providers speak the same patient-centric language, you can more easily facilitate the communication process. For example, in the post-launch phase, many patients might not adhere to the treatment because they don’t understand its advantages, or because they find it too burdensome. Speaking the same language facilitates relationships as well as a common environment for treatment development and deployment with the patients at the center of the process. This improves the likelihood of treatment approval, market access, and provider utilization while creating better synergies between providers and patients.

Overall, a patient-centric strategy enhances and improves pre- and post-launch product strategies. Embedding the patient perspective, not only as a source of data, but as a key piece of the product strategy development, can drive more rapid market access, differentiate a product vs. the competition, guarantee long-term adherence, and provide added value to patients.

Developing A Patient-Centric Value Proposition: Case Study

A multinational pharmaceutical company sought to uncover key insights from patient data they had amassed on one of their pipeline drugs, identify gaps, and gather missing information. Their goal was to strategically embed the patient perspective in their evidence and value proposition for regulators and payers, hoping to accelerate regulatory approval and market access. They wanted to work with a partner who could help them take strategic patient engagement to the next level.

Our team analyzed the existing data and identified the gaps. We then set up patient advisory boards in several countries to understand the disease’s impact on quality of life and test the blinded target product profile to understand the patients’ perspective on the expected product features. By merging existing and new patient connecting the impact of the disease on quality of life with the expected benefits of the treatment, we developed a powerful new patient-centric value proposition and value story for the treatment.

The patient value proposition and value story supported the clinical, regulatory, and market access phases for the treatment and presented authorities with patient-centric data and a narrative that emphasized the long-term benefits for the healthcare ecosystem from the patient perspective. The client is moving forward with presenting their new dossier to authorities and has embedded the patient perspective in their goals for the product through post-launch and commercialization.

Pharma Company Adopts a Patient-Centric Value Proposition for Regulatory and Payer Dossier

Read the case study
How We Can Help

Our depth of patient engagement experience means we can help you to develop a systematic strategy for working with patients throughout the product lifecycle. We can also help you develop validated methodologies for patient data collection. From beginning to end, our Patient Engagement team will guide you through the practical steps.

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