January 5, 2021

Is the pharma industry ready to listen directly to patients?

Listen to patients

COO Elizabeth Fairley was recently interviewed by publisher Drug Discovery World on whether the pharmaceutical industry is ready to listen directly to patients?

Elizabeth commented that “There has been a growing realisation that pharmaceutical companies must change if they are going to enable and harness technology even more successfully.

There has been a recognition that digital expertise must be brought in and that there must be digital working alongside robust science. In the scientific world it’s all about measurement and it’s the same in the digital world. Bringing the two together is what really accelerates it.

By bringing in the patient into the journey a lot sooner than just in the clinical stage of drug discovery, huge advances can continue to be made. There’s a slight reservation about actually talking to the patient. The apprehension is understandable as there are huge barriers to be overcome from a regulatory and compliance standpoint.

It’s curious but the voice of the people taking the drugs – the actual patients – hasn’t been as loud as it should have been. That’s despite extensive evidence that listening to patients and learning about their experiences can dramatically improve drug development, delivery, and accessibility, as well as patient support.

What we’re finding first hand is that the technology can identify barriers to access and opportunities for growth, and provide enhanced support for optimized health outcomes. We’re now able to assemble information about patient experiences with existing drugs which wouldn’t have been possible without technology.

In the work we’re doing, we can now gather patient voices from a number of different sources and cleanse and structure the information in a meaningful way. Conversational data can be derived from social media sites and forums where people discuss their experiences with diseases and medicines. This can be blended with information with data gathered directly from people using our connected devices as well as through patient surveys.

With data blended from so many different sources, we’re now starting to hear new things that are valuable to the industry. By getting close to people and learning in detail about the experiences they are having with the medicines they are taking we can be of assistance to patients with regard to managing their diseases. And we’re able to act as a translator, interpreting between the different language spoken by patients and medics, an approach which assists in diagnostics as well as disease management.

it is important that patients are listened to, especially as they are being brought in to more of the decision process across diagnosis and the management of their conditions and treatment. It is vital that the patient is kept safe to drive the better health outcomes.”

The full article in DDW is here.