Knowledge Center: Publication

Culture Shaping

‘Walking the talk’ in patient-centric pharma

4/16/2014 Robert J. Atkins
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As governments, payers, and healthcare providers rapidly move toward a health system that focuses on outcomes rather than products and services, pharmaceutical companies are feeling their way toward a new business model: patient-centricity. This shift of emphasis from products to patients represents a radical departure for the pharma industry, upending a half-century-old business model based on blockbuster drugs, incremental innovation, and physician preferences.

Continuing pressure on the old model and the business benefits of adopting the new model will accelerate the drive toward patient-centricity, but new strategies and new organizational structures will not be enough. Top leaders will not only have to develop innovative patient-centered models, they will also need to achieve enterprise-wide culture change and introduce the new leadership competencies patient-centricity requires.

Today’s increasing emphasis on patient outcomes is being driven by a confluence of powerful forces: Aging populations and increases in chronic diseases have put new strains on healthcare systems. Policy makers and payers seek to control costs by requiring evidence of value and comparative effectiveness, compelling healthcare providers to focus on patient impact. At the same time, the technology-driven ability to leverage health data is enabling providers to make better and faster diagnoses as well as more informed treatment decisions. Consumers, too, are playing a major role in this revolution. They now arrive in physicians’ offices armed with information, and their insistence on taking a more active role in their treatment is transforming healthcare from a provider-dominated marketplace to a consumer-centered system. 

To provide the kind of value increasingly being required by governments, payers, and patients, pharmaceutical companies will need to genuinely commit to putting the patient at the center. “Patient-centric” cannot simply be a marketing buzzword. Pharma companies must walk the talk – or else risk reputational damage. 

Robert J. Atkins Partner Emeritus

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