AstraZeneca has announced that BMJ Innovations has published the first collaborative definition of patient centricity for the pharmaceutical industry. The definition was co-developed with patients and caregivers using research led by AstraZeneca and patient community advocates to ensure a deep understanding of patient needs and values. Ten associated patient-centric principles were also identified and published in BMJ Innovations to provide the pharmaceutical industry with a consistent reference point to sustain meaningful and mutually beneficial engagement with patients. Wider testing of these outputs among U.S. and European patient communities confirmed their validity.
The research published in BMJ defines patient centricity as: “Putting the patient first in an open and sustained engagement of the patient to respectfully and compassionately achieve the best experience and outcome for that person and their family.” This definition encompassed five clear points of importance to patients that were identified and validated through the research: (1) inclusiveness; (2) sharing goals that are patient- and family-centered; (3) empowering patients to take control of their own health; (4) working in a way that shows respect, compassion and openness; and (5) working in partnership.
Patricia Furlong, president and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and a co-author of the research, said, “This is a landmark project for the pharmaceutical industry. As patients and caregivers, we are eager to see industry engaging with patients in a meaningful way to deliver what we actually want. This definition and set of guiding principles creates a clear signpost for industry by establishing a goal for how to meaningfully put patients at the center of work by involving them in decision-making in a way that truly benefits them.”
Guy Yeoman, vice president, Patient Centricity at AstraZeneca, said, “We asked patients what they wanted our industry to focus on, and we heard very clearly that they wanted us to stop concentrating solely on what we deliver, and think about how we deliver it. If we get the ‘how’ right, then the ‘what’ will be so much more meaningful and impactful for patients. For the first time, we believe we have a definitive direction for how patient engagement should be conducted in the way we, as an industry, research and develop our medicines.”
AstraZeneca’s research included extensive engagement with patients, including interviews with individual patients and patient organizations, and interaction with patients through an online forum and patient advisory boards. Healthcare providers and payers also provided input on patient needs. Following the data collection, researchers conducted two patient workshops designed to develop a definition of patient centricity and identify relevant principles for pharmaceutical companies that are most important to patients. Developed by a total of 22 patients and caregivers across a wide variety of conditions from North America and Europe, the principles were also validated via 470 and 703 patients in the PatientsLikeMe and Carenity online networks, respectively.