What do a quasigovernmental agency and a healthcare marketing agency have in common? Patient-centeredness. You may have read about the newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI),which is made possible by the Affordable Care Act. This organization is working to get at the root of a conversation of great importance to patients and the pharmaceutical industry alike. How do all stakeholders—including healthcare providers, payers, care partners, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, and patients—support the way patients make informed decisions that are right for them?
What are key patient questions?
PCORI is now funding pilot research projects that will help us all understand how to answer these questions that patients may ask:
- Given my personal characteristics, conditions, and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?
- What are my options, and what are the benefits and harms of those options?
- What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?
- How can the healthcare system improve my chances of achieving the outcomes I prefer?
How can we respond?
You may be thinking that it will take time and money to learn the answers. That it is too far removed from our work every day.
However, these questions and others like them should be central to all patient education and marketing efforts. To truly help people adhere to new regimens, we need to uncover challenges they have when faced with starting a new medicine or using a new device. Patients should also fully understand their personal risks. Risk and benefit information should be simplified so that all stakeholders can make informed decisions. Patients should be able to identify the outcomes that are important to them and should know ways to discuss these with their healthcare teams.
While the PCORI research results will help us all refine our patient education and support efforts, there is no need to wait. It’s already possible to develop patient-centered materials that support these objectives.