Why Patient Engagement is an integral part of today's healthcare industry
Patient engagement has emerged as a necessity in the modern healthcare industry and in hospitals, regulatory approval processes, health technology assessments, and clinical development.
There has finally been an awakening in society with the realization that designing new products and therapies WITH patients will lead to more effective products and a higher degree of successful approval and reimbursement. The patient-doctor relationship has changed with the patient becoming a more important and better-informed stakeholder in the decision-making process.
Patient representation is well-organized and growing stronger every day with many highly credible and professional patient organizations like EURORDIS, European Cancer Patient Coalition, and European Patients’ Forum.
Patient engagement adds value by informing other stakeholders about what patients really need and why. This effects investment decisions and how and what products and services that companies can develop to meet those patients' needs. Working closely with patients may also reduce time to market and lead to added value in terms of the company’s reputation.
Value added by patient engagement
While there is no official definition of patient engagement, we appreciate the definition of the World Health Organisation, which states,
"Patient Engagement is the process of building the capacity of patients, families, carers, as we as healthcare providers, to facilitate and support the active involvement of patients in their own care, in order to enhance safety quality and people-centredness of healthcare service delivery.”
Patient engagement goes deeper and contains more facets in the case of industry. The Patient Liaison as a job function and/or the Patient Relations Department are the people managing the relationship with patient organizations inside of the company.
Definitions of patient engagement for industry
Direct patient involvement can happen in different ways: collecting patient insights, co-creation, empowerment, and patient experiences through structures like patient advisory boards.
The industry can engage with patients across the life-cycle from very early stages of research to while their products are on the market. Healthcare companies have a lot to learn from patients and their views on the medical needs present in their disease or condition.
If you are interested in learning more about Patient Engagement, check out our eLearning module titled European Patient Engagement created in partnership with Forum Institute.