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A World of Possibilities

Although listening to patients to help improve patient health through clinical research seems to make sense, the emergence of the term ‘patient centricity’ in the last decade would suggest that this may not have always been the case. Listening to patients talk about their journey, from diagnosis through to the best treatment, and all stages in between (such as finding the right clinical trial), can be both informative and inspiring. The patient voice has become louder with the digital age, and more access to medical information is available online. Patients want to understand more about their diseases and their options and are also willing to take ownership of their health management. The biopharmaceutical industry no longer has a choice; it needs to listen and use what it is hearing to make it easier for patients to participate in clinical trials if it is to overcome the ongoing challenge of patient recruitment, and, sometimes, restating what should be obvious leads to a little revolution in our thinking.

As patients, family, or friends of a patient, whatever our background is, when we hear the diagnosis that has been given by the physician, there is an impulse to know more. Being told that we or our relatives suffer from a chronic and/or serious disease is a traumatic experience. If approved treatment options are limited, patients may be offered entry to a ‘phase X, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, multi-cohort trial’ − descriptions laden with jargon that increases anxiety and make it more difficult to understand

Stephanie Merrigan at ICON (October 2019)

Keywords: ICON plc, Patient Journey, Patient voice, digital health, health management, pharma, clinical research

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