Case Study: Embedding Patient Engagement in R&D Culture



Company committed to partnering with patients in the process of drug development, necessitating a shift in mindset across research and development.


Take action to change mindset from developing medicines for patients to developing medicines with patients, by embedding patient engagement within R&D organization while providing staff with appropriate training and support.

Key Tactics

  1. Implement a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) evolution, requiring all R&D employees to participate in a patient-themed activity in the first year.
  2. In the second year, the KPI focused more narrowly on patient engagement – two-way dialogues with patients in order to meet a shared purpose with mutual benefit, resulting in measurable outcomes. All R&D program teams were required to identify and track a specific patient engagement activity, and 30% of teams were required to establish a Patient Engagement Plan.
  3. Piloted a Patient Engagement Plan process to provide R&D program teams with a roadmap to optimize patient engagement opportunities throughout the asset lifecycle.
  4. Developed Patient Engagement Plans for R&D program teams across therapeutic areas, bringing together key R&D and commercial functions with patient-facing functions, to align on how and when the company will seek patient input.
  5. Communicated the value of R&D patient engagement internally through five-minute videos spotlighting specific patient engagement activities, including patient perspectives on their own experiences living with a condition and team perspectives on the value of patient engagement.



  1. 2019 KPI exceeded with over 40% of R&D programs developing a Patient Engagement Plan in collaboration with the Patient Engagement function.
  2. Increase in requests for patient engagement activities from R&D program teams.
  3. Plans underway for 100% of R&D programs to have a Patient Engagement Plan in place by end of 2020.
  4. As cross-functional stakeholders in R&D experience patient engagement, their appreciation of the value of it grows and the more they see it as the right thing to do, enabling the company to move forward with patient engagement, without needing to wait for evidence of return on investment.
Categories: Case Study Patient Centricity Patient Engagement R&D Uncategorized

About The Author [ Sharon Dion ]

Sharon Dion, MBA, is the SVP of Client Services at VOZ. Sharon works closely with clients to build effective and mutually beneficial relationships and to develop and implement needs-based strategies to support drug development, approval, and marketing activities. Sharon also has strong expertise in patient engagement and has worked with several clients to establish and implement successful global patient engagement functions, strategies and programs.