Patients have always been at the center of everything we do, but the role of the patient is changing – from a recipient of care to a collaborative partner. In our Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices businesses, we are on a mission to embed the patient voice throughout our product development cycles, beginning with disease area strategies through clinical trial designs, product formulation and product marketing. Our latest innovations are focused on empowering patients and addressing gaps in how healthcare is delivered.
In some cases, patients are even co-creating with us by helping to modify product design. One Janssen team worked with patients and healthcare professionals through studies to optimize the design of a device for administering a medicine. The modified design helps patients insert the device properly, shows whether the full dose has been administered, and comes with improved instructions, including questions and answers based on patient insights.
When we think about improving our clinical trials, technology offers an untapped potential. One of the ways we are using technology applications to improve patient engagement is through our integrated Smart Trial & Engagement Program (iSTEP). Using an integrated platform, connected with various internal and external databases and smart technologies (smart phones, smart packages, scanning devices), iSTEP is designed to provide personalized and real-time support to patients, and to automate patient data and clinical supply management throughout the entirety of a clinical trial. This innovative platform and smart technologies were tested in a Janssen Phase 2 clinical trial with Alzheimer patients for the first time in 2017; plans are underway to expand its use in additional studies.
Another patient-centered solution that Janssen implemented is eConsent, using tablet-based technology and multimedia features to help patients understand and prepare for clinical trials. Janssen pioneered implementation of eConsent in multi-country/multi-language trials, and is a key contributor to the TransCelerate BioPharma eConsent initiative.
When we think about patient-centered care, we don’t mean just managing physical illness, but also addressing mental health, as well as the support circle needed by a patient. For those managing mental illness, family members, close friends and other caregivers play a critical role in the treatment process – accompanying patients to doctor appointments, assisting with everyday tasks, making sure that prescriptions get filled, and more. Janssen is conducting a unique and very promising study to determine whether caregivers might fare better with the burden they take on if provided with individualized training and interactive support, and whether this support translates into better outcomes for their loved ones. Work like this demonstrates our holistic look at health interventions and how we can deliver support beyond just medicines.
Industry initiatives also play a crucial role in furthering the dialogue regarding patient-centered care. Just one example is at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Forum 2017: Bridging Divides Forum. We added our voice, perspective and innovative ideas to spirited discussions at the forum about a truly patient-centric approach to healthcare. To help people better understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia, we demonstrated a groundbreaking virtual reality technology, called SchizoLab, the type of innovative technology we hope can lead to improved patient-doctor and patient-caregiver relationships.