Why I Won’t Rest: Bringing Empathy and Hope to the Patient Journey (part 3)

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

Click here to view part 1 or here for part 2

A Value-Based Approach to Healthcare

In my experience, navigating the health system has become increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, I’ve had plenty of experience as a caregiver in my personal life: I lost my mother at age 51 to breast cancer; my father at age 67 to a rare infection; and it has been an up-and-down journey with my sister’s health. Despite my health experience, I was never sure whether the information I was being given or the treatments prescribed were right – or even if they were, were being recommended at the right time. And I feel it has become even more challenging over the years, given the growing intricacy of the entire healthcare complex. 

I strongly believe part of the solution to providing better care, which will coincidentally also make our healthcare systems more sustainable, lies in value-based contracts. In short: rather than paying for medicine, hospital beds, surgery or even just visits to a healthcare practitioner, we simply shift our focus to paying paying for better health. Or in other words, we focus narrowly on what will bring about the best health outcomes, and direct resources to those specific measures only. 

Of course, this will not be easy. We are talking about uprooting systems that have been in place forever. Systemic change at this scale requires serious structural, technical and political shifts in order to develop standard frameworks, use data smartly, introduce new pricing models, upgrade infrastructure – and much more. And it will require far closer collaboration between patients, healthcare providers, payers and industry. Collaboration across sectors will become increasingly important and we should welcome innovative ideas from those beyond our industry in order to bring forward the best possible solutions for patients.

What’s Next for Pharma and Personalized Patient Models?

Many times, we go through life and we just keep doing what we are doing because that is what we have always done. And that is what we have done for too long in healthcare.  

The disruption of our healthcare status quo, with new technologies, as well as other major changes like value-based pricing ideas, are exactly what we need. And we are expected to see major increases in adaption in healthcare across a variety of emerging technologies.

Technology has improved efficiency in so many areas:  we can order books and music on our phone, we can shop on our phone, we actually can measure EKG and heart flow/blood flow on our phones, but medicine is the last frontier to adopt technology... yet the most critical to our very existence.

In fact, the future is personal. While advances in technology are sometimes seen as creating distance between people, in medicine, they are creating stronger connections between patients and physicians. 

Looking ahead, we can expect the convergence of the science, value and the patient journey coming together in a more personalized way. Science will become more targeted: some life sciences companies have already developed drugs that are designed for specific genome profiles. In oncology, we have seen how targeting specific genetic components of a person’s cancer has transformed the course of treatment for this space.

Healthcare systems around the world are struggling with rising costs and uneven quality, and quick fixes – like reducing errors, attacking fraud, implementing electronic medical records – are only temporary. In the future, we will be moving away from a supply-driven health care system to a patient-centred system focused on value.

With the rise of, wearables, fitness trackers and telehealth, patients are taking control of their health and becoming more engaged in their healthcare decisions in ways we never thought possible. It is long overdue that the pharma industry takes this on because, when you put things in perspective, should we not all put the future of our health, and the health of our loved ones, as a number one priority? 

It is clear, technology is changing the game for healthcare and will need to play a key role at every level of the system. While this remains true, we must also remember to keep three crucial aspects of healthcare at the forefront as it will guide us toward the next generation of medical breakthroughs and patient care:  

  1. Innovation: Discovering medicines for high unmet need diseases will continue to be the basis of the work we do to make life better for patients
  2. Value: It is also required we prove the value of our medicines and collaborate with stakeholders inside and outside the healthcare system that are responsible for delivering and/or paying for our innovation.
  3. Patient Journey: Finally, I believe that it is important to pay it forward and support other caregivers and patients. I would urge each of us to bring a new outlook to the work we do, redoubling our focus on the true patient journey and the role we can play for each patient in improving health outcomes.  

Let’s get real – real personal.


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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