People in action – Patient-centricity

Over a year ago we created a new role to drive a greater focus on patient-centricity. The job of our Chief Patient Officer (CPO) starts with the recognition that patients are also experts in their own right and should therefore be equal participants in the conversation. Their input and perspectives on research, protocol and product design are fundamental to delivering better patient outcomes.

In other words, patient-centricity is about putting the patient at the centre of the business, understanding their experiences at all stages of the journey and listening to them more closely. In this way, patient-centricity differs in an important way from patient advocacy – which is about how patients can get support for what they need, often via patient advocacy groups.


The need for a more patient-centric approach

Over the last year we have taken time to understand the need for a greater patient-centric approach at Ferring. We identified the key drivers as follows:

  • Commoditised products and services increasingly require manufacturers to seek differentiation beyond just the clinical
  • Patients are increasingly engaged and financially accountable for their own healthcare decisions, bringing a stronger voice to the table
  • Consumerism is changing patient behaviour and setting higher expectations for brands
  • Digital technology enables a greater ability to understand, cater to, and engage individual consumers and patients in new ways, raising the bar for experience
  • Regulators are increasingly interested in patient involvement and experiences

Establishing a patient-centricity network

To support the CPO’s work we have created a Ferring Patient-Centricity Network (FPCN), a group of Ferring colleagues in different functions around the world responsible for patient advocacy and patient centricity.

The job of this network is to coordinate efforts around the world, aiming for a globally-consistent approach.

It is not often you feel heard as an individual going through infertility… I probably speak for the group when I say it felt even more impactful that a pharmaceutical organisation took the time to understand patients!

Patient, PAB meeting, San Diego 2019

Our progress this year

Dr Ed Trott, our Chief Patient Officer, explains what progress Ferring is making on putting patient-centricity into practice:

‘This first year has been about getting out to the markets and speaking to stakeholders. We now have a better understanding of the drivers behind the need for a patient- centric approach. We have also created a Ferring Patient-Centricity Network (FPCN), Patient Advisory Groups (PAG) and a Patient Advisory Board (PAB).

Most importantly, we hosted our first Patient Advisory Board meeting in San Diego, US, in October 2019, supported by the patient group RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. We asked patients about their experiences and how they felt about the treatment outcomes. It was well-attended, and patients genuinely appreciated the opportunity to have someone listen to them properly. We gained important new insights into patients’ challenges – including access to credible information and the overall emotional stress involved in the infertility journey.

Beyond maternal health, we also worked with a Patient Association to conduct a survey for bladder cancer. The survey was done in just two weeks, covering 2000 patients, giving us invaluable feedback.

Finally, we invited patients to our Town Hall meetings to talk first-hand about their experiences. These events were an important opportunity for colleagues to hear and see for themselves the contributions they can make individually and collectively to patients’ health and quality of life.

Looking ahead

2020 will be about driving patient input into R&D. This is no longer just a ‘nice to have’. In all our markets, the key focus will be on what questions patients have for us, and how we can do our best to respond to them.

Ultimately, we will measure our progress by our ability to build strong, long-term relationships and trust with patients and payers across all markets. Conducted properly, this relationship should not only be mutually beneficial – but we hope, transformative, for both patients and ourselves.’

This first year has been about getting out to the markets and speaking to stakeholders. We now have a better understanding of the drivers behind the need for a patient-centric approach.

Dr Ed Trott
Chief Patient Officer

Dr Ed Trott with Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) CEO, Andrea Maddox-Smith (left) and a bladder cancer survivor (right) sharing her patient story at the Ferring US Town Hall in May