The power of stories was given center stage at an Astellas event designed to help staff better understand patient and caregiver journeys.
The second annual Astellas Patient and Caregiver Event (PCE), which saw staff sharing their own experiences of living with illness in the family, was held over two days at the end of November 2018 and had a special focus on caregivers.
Introducing the event, Percival Barretto-Ko, President of Astellas Americas, said: “Stories build bridges and when you understand someone’s story you understand what motivates them, what drives them and, also, what frustrates them. These stories drive our clarity of purpose.”
The PCE, which also gave employees the opportunity to engage with patient advocacy groups, was conceived by an Astellas internal employee volunteer group.
Suzanne Johnson, Astellas Associate Director of Patient Experience, said:
“The event helped staff to gain a deeper understanding of patients and caregivers’ needs. Attendees were asked to put themselves in the shoes of the people they serve. By understanding all the factors that impact people, we can better deliver on the Astellas promise of innovative therapies that provide greater value and an improved healthcare experience for all patients.”
Across the two days, several employees shared their personal experiences of fighting disease and looking after a loved one with an illness.
There were also talks designed to enhance patient centricity, such as a look at how the ingredients in some medicines impact people with allergies, intolerances or religious preferences.
Another session, called “Through the Eyes of Patients”, presented the key findings from an immersive experience pilot, which aimed to give staff a better understanding of the impact of menopause-related vasomotor symptoms.
The Patient Centricity Showcase gave employees the chance to learn about the progress Astellas is making toward becoming an even more patient-focused organization, and included information on the resources available to support employee patients and caregivers.
Staff took the opportunity to give back to the community, by creating welcome kits for families staying at American Cancer Society Hope Lodges in the Midwest. They also wrote inspirational cards for the charity Phil’s Friends to distribute to cancer patients.
Chief Medical Officer and President of Development, Bernie Zeiher, noted how the two days highlighted the company’s emphasis on the patient voice.
He said: “We talk a lot about innovative science and how we ensure we have capacity to develop products that are innovative. But ultimately it comes down to ‘does it deliver for patients?’.”
For the company to truly understand the patient voice and tackle unmet need, Percival added, it is important for staff to “pause” and think about the reason they do what they do.
Watch a video recap below.