Patient and customer advisory councils are excellent for maintaining customer-centric approaches and business decisions, but organizations often leave additional value on the table.
We recommend the following three strategies for maximizing the value of your organization's patient advisory council:
- Recruit a diverse council, including those with the most complex and challenging experiences.
Recruitment for your council is an opportunity to facilitate trust and sustained engagement. However, most organizations have members, patients, and customers that are traditionally difficult to access, making recruitment for research studies even more challenging.
For example, Mad*Pow recently worked with a pharmaceutical company serving patients living with Central Nervous System conditions like Schizophrenia. Only 2.8 million adults in the United States live with this condition, which represents just 1.1% of the population. A needle may be easier to find in a haystack. Complicating things further, 40% of these people go untreated annually, making it even more challenging to locate and engage without centralized access points.
That challenge shouldn’t stop you though, utilizing your council recruitment to locate and hear from members of the patient community with varying symptoms will lead to better solutions and support for all.
- Engage your council in the process of co-creation.
The longer-term relationship with a patient advisory council offers a unique longitudinal perspective and richness of insight into the patient experience that far surpasses what can be gleaned in one-off in-depth interviews or surveys in market research. Engaging a design agency that specializes in experience research and generative design activities can help life sciences companies fully realize the benefits of this relationship.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through co-creation workshops and exercises to engage customers and other stakeholders in the process of generating new ideas. Co-creation exercises are used to collaboratively uncover problems and develop solutions with end users. Often, these exercises uncover latent needs that the patients or caregivers may have but are not able to articulate through a traditional Q&A type of interview approach.
- Create collaboration opportunities with stakeholders responsible for experience and delivery.
Don't let your council be bottlenecked. Some organizations have built teams dedicated to their councils' management, growth, and coordination. This is an excellent way of maintaining a well-organized council and should be encouraged. However, stagnating processes and methods of engagement are a potential pitfall. While this may require some coordination with your internal compliance team to ensure that all processes are followed, it can offer a lot of rich insight.
It's tempting to engage councils in a siloed way that generates outcomes, feedback, or other "consumable" information for designers and decision-makers, but that overlooks another layer of value. Your council should engage directly with the people responsible for enacting or delivering on their feedback and recommendations. The resulting conversation and discourse will lead to deepened engagement for council members, more nuanced and powerful insights for team members, and better outcomes for the organization and its customers.
Whether your organization is in the process of launching a patient council or only just considering it, these three strategies for maximizing value are meant to assist with launch, engagement, and maintenance. They can be regarded independently based on the stage your organization is currently at, but ultimately the maturation of your council depends on all three.
Interested in learning more about how Mad*Pow can collaborate with you to tackle complex problems? Schedule time to chat today.