A fresh angle on customer centricity… featuring empathy and deep understanding.
At Intellus in Philadelphia this May, the PMRG and PBIRG attendees focused almost exclusively on patients, offering an even deeper understanding of patients’ needs, their varied contexts and their experience as participants in research. The conference was an hour-by-hour reminder of the reason why we are in this business: our patients. And they were featured prominently in keynote addresses and discussion groups. A new “demo zone” featured bite-sized vignettes of technology and analytics that apply to patient/caregiver feedback, with many having clear application to physicians and payers as well.
What it takes to put patients at the center
It is easy to talk about putting patients at the center. Intellus actually did it. The main sessions featured patients, with the “Advocacy of Hope” keynote, featuring and moderated by rare disease patient advocates (themselves either patients or caregivers). We heard the perspective of patients, as well as gained insights into the dynamics of creating and leading patient advocacy forums. Over the last three decades, we, as marketing researchers, have learned from customer-centricity success stories (many of which are non-healthcare) about what it takes to become sustainably customer centric: It requires leadership that cares about the customers. Leadership must develop true empathy and a deep understanding of their customers’ needs. While pharma companies have always cared about the patients, what is new is that they have started to place them front and center in their strategies. We had proof of this at Intellus, as we heard patients talk about their personal challenges, how their disease impacts their lives and the role that support organizations play in managing the diseases.
Understanding patients with rare diseases
As researchers, we also heard the perspective of rare patient advocacy leaders — information that can help us recruit rare patient

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