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Has the Patient Become More Important in Healthcare?

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Patient centricity may still be in its early stages, but it has the potential to change the role of the patient in healthcare.

Has the Patient Become More Important in Healthcare?

Patient centricity and patient engagement are terms often used by healthcare providers to signify that they personalize their treatments for patients, however, these terms can often be abstract and difficult to quantify. The distinctions between patient centricity and engagement are subtle, but they may allow those within healthcare to better understand how to support patients through every step of the healthcare journey. This new focus being placed on patients represents a shift away from traditional models of thinking about the patient—instead allowing patients to gain more autonomy and voice in their treatment.

Patient Centricity versus Patient Engagement

Although patient centricity and patient engagement are often used interchangeably, there is a notable difference between the two phrases. We can define patient centricity as putting the patient’s needs at the center, as opposed to the patient herself.

This differs from how people typically conceptualize patient centricity as putting the patient at the center. The patient’s needs highlights the importance of the stakeholders involved in the healthcare journey. To achieve this kind of centricity, you must first engage with patients. This is where the two terms depart from one another: We can define patient engagement as any time a healthcare provider engages with an individual with a health condition, whereas patient centricity focuses on the patient’s needs. A project which engages patients may not meet standards of patient centricity because it does not address the patient’s needs. This underlines the importance of being patient centric and considering the needs of the patients, rather than interacting with patients on a surface level.

Traditional Way of Thinking About Patients

The recent upsurge in patient centricity reflects a new way of thinking about patients. The traditional way of thinking about the patient was as a separate entity from the healthcare industry who was not involved. This way of viewing the patient neglects the patient’s perspective and shuts them out of having conversations with healthcare providers. The newer patient model changes this dynamic and allows the patient to become more involved in the healthcare process. Instead of being the sole source of expertise, the physician now becomes the interpreter of the information, and can coordinate the patient’s interaction with the rest of the healthcare delivery ecosystem.

The attempts that healthcare providers are making to include patients in conversations about their treatment plans represents a drastic shift in healthcare. As patients become a more integral part of the healthcare industry, there are more chances for them to voice their concerns. Patient centricity and patient engagement may still be in their early stages, however they have the potential to drastically alter the patient-sponsor relationship–allowing patients to become far more involved in healthcare.

If you have any other questions about how to communicate with the FDA or how your past and/or current FDA communications affect you and your business goals, reach out to me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or send me a message here.

I also host a podcast called DarshanTalks, a show that discusses newsworthy FDA issues and how they apply to bringing a product to market – and keeping it there. From patient centricity in clinical trials to the government shutdown to CRISPR and bioethics to why big data is doomed to fail in healthcare, we’ve got quite the list of topics to review! Listen to the podcast on Google Podcasts or on Apple Podcasts.

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