What Does Being #PATIENTDRIVEN® Mean to You?

Nov 04, 2019

Guest Blog by Rehan Verjee, President, EMD Serono & Global Head of the Innovative Medicine Franchises, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

In industries outside of healthcare, the customer is not only always right, but the business is designed to efficiently deliver the best quality of product or service and keep innovating in order to keep their customer’s business. The customer holds the power to shop for the absolute best value. Healthcare, however, it seems is often system vs. patient driven.

Too often the patient is only a recipient of care, rather than a decision maker. Consumers buy insurance to receive health services but lack the information or ability to make informed decisions based on price, providers or personal needs.

If we want to evolve to be more patient driven, then shouldn’t we find ways to ensure that patients feel informed and empowered to make the best choices for themselves and their families?  Can we shift the dialogue to see patients in a new way – beyond their biology – to solicit them as a partner and resource in providing their care?

Eric Topol predicted in his book The Patient Will See You Now, the relationship of the patient to their healthcare is changing from the patient being the object of care, to the patient being the COO of their care.

In science, the Human Genome Project launched in 1990 gave the scientific world a set of “instructions” for the development and function of a human being. What followed was the advent and acceleration of gene therapy, cell therapy, and advanced biologics. This pace of innovation is breathtaking – in 2018 alone, the FDA approved 61 new drugs, a pace that is three times the rate of approval just a decade ago. 

Technology is serving a dual role of aiding the acceleration of science on one hand, and helping patients become more in control of their healthcare on the other hand. For science, artificial intelligence and cloud computing are enabling not only expansion of research and innovation, but acceleration of clinical trials. These advances are democratizing patient care by enabling each of us to avail our health information to new technologies and truly become a consumer of care by letting our health information follow us everywhere we go on our mobile devices and enabling us to seek out the best possible quality of care. 

While this alignment transpires around us, it appears to be a unique moment for us to consider how we might want to reshape the delivery of healthcare in order to put the patient at the heart of what we do.  What opportunities exist today that were not available yesterday, and how can we realize them? 

In the end, the thing I value the most about the work that I do, and our industry, is that every day we are thinking about how we can make a difference in peoples’ lives. From the discovery and success of a therapy in clinical trials, to development of strategies that ensure patients have access to medicines, and then listening to patient experiences – it is fulfilling and brings us new challenges each day. At EMD Serono we use the phrase “As One For Patients” to focus our strategy by ensuring we are always considering their perspective. Now is the time to build on the tremendous innovation of our industry, partnering with patients to fulfill our mission to be truly #PATIENTDRIVEN®.  

To hear more from Rehan Verjee and to further discuss what it means to be #PATIENTDRIVEN®, register for our Patient Advocacy Summit on November 6th. 

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