Why I Won’t Rest: Bringing Empathy and Hope to the Patient Journey (part 1)

Christi Shaw, Senior Vice President and President, Lilly Bio-Medicines

This post, published in 3 parts, is based on Christi’s keynote speech at eyeforpharma.

The notion of ‘bringing empathy and hope to the patient journey’ has been a personal passion of mine for many years. And it is an utterly fundamental topic for the pharmaceutical industry.

While access and infrastructure continue to present significant challenges, transformative changes are taking place in healthcare. Groundbreaking discoveries are emerging every day with the promise of better health outcomes for patients everywhere. BUT if we are to fully reap the rewards on offer, we have to be closer to the patient, and consider the entirety of the patient journey.

Most of us enter the healthcare industry because we want to have a positive impact on patients’ lives. But sometimes in our busy day-to-day, it can be easy to lose sight of this overarching purpose and operate in siloes.

How do we ensure that we never lose focus on the patient, and that we constantly consider the entire patient journey in our work?

An important first step toward this is improving our understanding of patient needs, and how we provide support to patients and their families faced with fear, pain, and a terrible emotional toll.

I have lived through the ups and downs of taking care of a seriously-ill loved one, as have so many of us. My time as a caregiver, and my experience in making healthcare decisions for my family, have helped me realize how many factors go into shaping the patient journey today. As an industry that was once focused only on developing therapies, pharma must shift to a focus on the whole patient.

I believe that we need to look at the patient experience through a new lens that has three elements:

  1. Innovation: our heritage of leveraging science to bring new discoveries to market.
  2. Ensuring these innovations bring value to the entire healthcare system by reducing costs, saving lives, and/or improving quality of life. This requires working with policy makers, healthcare systems and payers to ensure access.
  3. New tools and digital technologies that help physicians better diagnose and treat patients and tools that enable greater patient engagement in their own care. 

Only by working together in each of these areas will we be able to achieve a truly greater impact for patients. 

Click here for the second part of Christi’s post, looking at how technology gives patients control.

This post is part of our #WeWontRest series in which we speak loudly and proudly of our passion and dedication to improving the health of patients everywhere (and the exiting changes and challenges we face every day).

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