It was difficult to not be inspired by the passion and determination demonstrated at this year’s Astellas Patient Advocacy Summit. Now into its third year, the Summit served as a discussion forum for patient advocacy groups and healthcare organizations alike to continue their mission to better incorporate the voice of the patient into healthcare delivery.

Held in Washington DC, the Summit brought together some of the most respected and forward-thinking patient advocacy groups across many different therapeutic areas to discuss best practices, reflect on current patient advocacy efforts and highlight what still needs to be done to achieve true patient-centered care.

Margaret Long, Vice President of Business Communications and Stakeholder Engagement at Astellas, kicked off proceedings with a message of collaboration, stating that “the more we can learn from each other, the more we can partner. That’s how we make a difference.”

And that’s exactly what transpired throughout the day.

The tone was set by Astellas Corporate Affairs Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Jeff Winton, who shared candid remarks on his personal experiences and his time in the healthcare industry capturing how collaboration in advocacy was borne out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic  and how enhanced coordination is vital to achieving truly patient-focused care delivery going forward.

This led into a series of ‘Lessons Learned’ sessions, during which leaders from patient organizations shared success stories and insights in four key areas: patient advocates’ role in drug development; the use of shared decision making in healthcare to improve patient confidence, satisfaction and engagement; the role of patient advocacy in Latin America; and the power of mentoring within a hospital setting.

Complementing these sessions were panel discussions around some of the biggest topics in healthcare, including patient-focused drug development, making health insurance work for patients, and developing quality measures that better focus on patient outcomes. A thought-provoking, open dialogue followed each panel and best practice session.

Over lunch, attendees were introduced to Diane Jooris, co-founder of Oncomfort – a virtual reality solution designed to manage anxiety associated with cancer treatment using certified psychological techniques. Ms. Jooris was the winner of last year’s Astellas C3 Grand Prize.

Coming full circle, Margaret Long summed up the day perfectly with the observation:  “I don’t think there is anywhere in the continuum of care that doesn’t need the patient voice.”

Once again, the summit was a huge success. Echoing the first two, this year’s summit  inspired, challenged, energized and provoked genuine, meaningful discussion about how the patient advocacy community and others throughout the healthcare system can work together to create a healthier future for patients we serve.

Third annual summit continues to raise profile of the patient voice in healthcare

Astellas Patient Advocacy is a function within Corporate Affairs at Astellas that focuses on creating, building and maintaining third-party relationships. We serve as a conduit between Astellas and external stakeholders to help improve patient outcomes, improve access issues and address patients’ unmet needs head on.