Putting the patient at the centre of treatment is a long-appreciated goal in healthcare and it describes a model where decision-making is shared between multiple stakeholders. In the past, the needs of the physician used to be the main focus of pharmaceutical marketing, while today “the customer” comprehends: doctors, nurses, non-clinical staff, and of course the patient and family caregiver too.
Adopting a human-centric approach requires a shift in thinking, as well as time and investment. Whether organisations agree, like it or not, the change is happening and those who think “beyond the pill” and put real human needs at the forefront of their business strategy will succeed, but they need to act fast. Most patients want to play a more active role in decisions about their health, and they won’t wait for pharma. In 2016, 3.2 billion health apps were downloaded worldwide, but only 0.2% of those came from pharma.
Very recently, Apple opened its Health Records API to developers and researchers in order to create an ecosystem of apps that use health record data to better manage medications, nutrition plans, diagnosed diseases and more. “With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. This was a very important and first step to empower patients on their own health decisions.
We are in a golden era of opportunity, and pharmaceutical companies are well positioned to take on a leadership role, once they overcome their uncertainties. Pharma can decide to keep its image as traditional drug-makers or can, instead, be recognized as trusted partners in the delivery of complete integrated healthcare solutions.