In healthcare, and even at Roche, you hear nice phrases like “patient-focused” or “putting patients at the center.” While that’s sincere and true, it’s more than that. Simply put, patients are our reason for being. They drive what we do. Their experiences and needs are vital to the solutions we deliver, and that requires intent listening, constant learning and genuine empathy.
Like so many others in COVID-19 times, we can no longer meet many of our patients – or their advocates or healthcare experts – in person. So connecting during the pandemic required a shift, even though Roche has long embraced a multifaceted approach to meeting through a balance of virtual platforms and in-person discussions.
In some ways, the conditions imposed by COVID-19 bring us even closer to patients and our healthcare partners. Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantines – these require us to be more flexible and responsive to their needs than ever, whether it’s through virtual or, where possible, face-to-face interactions. Our goal? Meet customers, patients and their advocates where they can easily and safely connect, in ways they prefer, and in a voice that’s compassionate and human and real.
During this pandemic, the need for credible information is more critical than ever, and the demand is great. Again, we meet patients and partners where we’re needed, in their comfort zone, and answer their questions virtually and securely, by email, in chat, through video, on web portals and more. Our Medical Information network delivers the answers people need to make the most informed medical decisions possible. The team responds to more than 160,000 medical inquiries each year, with 30% of those directly from patients. That demand will likely only grow.
Our Global Patient Partnership teams stay closely connected to patients and those who surround them. They developed a COVID-19 response team, with participation from our worldwide affiliates, to share experiences “in the moment” from patient groups, giving a glimpse into the everyday patient perspective during the pandemic.
Another change? New virtual communities and advisory councils keep us connected with patient groups. We also support activities that – even during a crisis – ensure patients can remain in clinical trials and continue to receive medical care and access to important treatments they rely on.
In most basic terms, it all begins with listening to the patients’ needs and sharing resources and guidance for our partners and affiliate locations around the world. Then we do whatever we can to ensure that we meet those needs and that patients can continue to access our medical solutions.
Inevitably, the pharmaceutical business, like many others, will undergo changes as a result of the pandemic. We believe our connections with customers and patient organizations will only deepen. This crisis has brought us all together in a way unlike anything else. We are all facing struggles. We are all impacted. We are all learning.
This situation creates a sense of community that is unique and special. Doing what’s right for patients, whether in person or from a distance, has brought a stronger sense of togetherness and authenticity to our relationships in the current situation, and that will carry into the future.
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