3 posts from September, 2010

Drug Safety: It’s About More Than Just Compliance

Posted September 30th, 2010 by

pillsEngaging in social media presents a number of uncertainties to pharmaceutical companies. In a world where much of the medical dialog has moved online, these uncertainties have emerged due to absent or unclear guidelines from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), privacy and regulatory concerns about engaging directly with patients, and the potential for significant consequences.

When I recently spoke before the FDA, we highlighted how our pharmaceutical partners are taking a leadership role by navigating through these issues. In so doing, our partners are learning about real world experiences of patients and how to meet their adverse event reporting responsibilities in the PatientsLikeMe Epilepsy, Organ Transplant and Multiple Sclerosis communities.

“…as the FDA contemplates the Internet and social media as an emerging source of drug safety data, it is essential to consider what characteristics distinguish a social media site as being capable of contributing to drug safety in a meaningful, computable and quantifiable manner.”

Meaningful, computable and quantifiable are three words that underscore all that we do at PatientsLikeMe. This includes the creation of our patient safety program. Early on, we approached patient safety proactively with a pilot program in our Multiple Sclerosis Community. Launched in 2009, this program allows patients to voluntarily report adverse events that funnel to the FDA’s MedWatch system. Our system automatically pulls relevant data from the patient’s existing profile into an FDA 3500 form, dramatically reducing form completion time.

Going beyond that in areas where we work deeply with our pharma clients, we developed an integrated and comprehensive drug safety reporting platform that monitors patient data and free-text for potential adverse events. This data is then medically curated into standard MedDRA terminology and submitted electronically to meet regulatory timelines and reporting criteria. Of note, PatientsLikeMe is the only online health data platform in social media that has passed multiple drug safety compliance audits.

The reality today is that patients are sharing their real-life experiences with post-marketed drugs online. By using structured data collection tools within the PatientsLikeMe platform overseen by a drug safety professional, industry partners can improve patient safety.

This is about more than just compliance, though. We believe it’s about leadership – patients and pharma working together in new ways. Listening – to understand the positive and negative patient experience – is the right step in developing a trusted relationship. And this trust-based relationship is the only foundation upon which to build your social media strategy.

PatientsLikeMe member jamie


Will Openness Bring About a Breakthrough?

Posted September 16th, 2010 by

Share your thoughts in an innovative online event
with our partner Myelin Repair Foundation.
mrf-breakthroughs-sticker

Our Openness Philosophy is centered around the idea that patients sharing their real world health data allows for collaboration on a global scale; that it will accelerate new treatments; and that it can change our health care system.  In this same spirit of openness, The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) has recently announced a new collaborative event.

This fall MRF is inviting scientists, industry experts, patients, policy makers, and other big thinkers inside and outside of the medical research enterprise and health care industry to two online “idea sourcing” events called “Breakthroughs to Cures”. These events are designed to explore creative ways to accelerate the pace of medical research and shorten the time to market for new medicines for all diseases.

The two events will take place respectively on October 7-8 and November 9-10  and there will be as many as 600 individuals from a wide range of backgrounds in online conversation threads that are expected to identify new strategies for accelerating research.  Here is a chance for patients to come to the table, contribute your ideas, your experiences with illness, and your sense of urgency to the discussion.  If you’d like to learn more and register for the events, visit “Breakthroughs to Cures”.

At PatientsLikeMe, we believe that real world data sharing helps drive research, helps patients make treatment decisions, and improves patient relationship with doctors.  The results from our user survey indicate that many members of PatientsLikeMe agree the site has helped them to understand side effects of their treatments and has helped them find another patient with experience of taking a specific treatment for their condition.  In fact, 65% of patients feel they are more involved in treatment decisions because of what they learned on PatientsLikeMe.

We believe, given this power, patients have the ability to affect a huge change in the medical system.  Make your voice heard by participating in one or both of these unique online events.

It’s your data, your ideas, your experience, your future – share on.

PatientsLikeMe member mcotter


Success is Putting Patients First

Posted September 10th, 2010 by

Without looking too far forward I think we all can see a day where patients have the ability to see how different decisions they make directly impact their health outcomes. I don’t mean in an abstract sense, but rather in a practical way that can change day-to-day decisions about nutrition, exercise, medication choices, and doctor visits.

bizdevcorevalues

Aligning Patients and Industry is Possible

Calling the path to getting to that nirvana “the easy part” would be insane until you compare it to trying to create a thriving and responsible business out of this endeavor. PatientsLikeMe is attempting to do just that. The key is being responsible in the decisions we make as we move forward. We must not only adhere to our core values, but also select the “right” partners.

Our partnership objectives are to work with companies dedicated to optimizing health outcomes through the use of real-world, patient-reported data. This means that companies have to value patient experiences, believe that patients understand their health decisions, and regard patients as partners in obtaining the shared goal of improving outcomes.

No Race Car

As easy as that sounds, the devil is in the details. The revenue model of choice for social media is advertising; and as we’ve indicated many times before, there is no advertising on PatientsLikeMe. Our choice is to maintain the sanctity of our user experience without turning our site into a “race car.” This leaves us the option of selling the data that patients provide to us so that stakeholders in health can learn from their experiences.

How Can We Learn?

Data is the key to learning. Translating that data into actionable information for companies that are trying to maximize their profits while still keeping the patients’ interests at heart has been our biggest business challenge yet. Of course, all companies insist that they’re in business to help patients, but in all honesty, there are clear leaders in that regard—organizations that act on the ideals of the company revering their core values as more than rhetoric for annual reports.

We learn as much from these companies during the partnership development process as they learn from us. Should we work with them? Will this company value the same things that we value? Can the patients really be first in their decision-making when faced with tough business decisions? We evaluate potential partners on these parameters as well as their ability to create positive change for patients quickly.

The Goal: Measure Everything For Poeple’s and Industry’s Benefit

One way we measure this ability is how much data is fed back to patients based on partner research conducted on our site. Although some of that information is proprietary, companies that share some interesting nuggets with the patients that supplied the data create a sense of goodwill and encourage greater participation in further studies. Patients feel like they have a direct impact on companies interested in their disease and clearly know that their voice has been heard. To us, that’s what the business of healthcare must be: a responsible dialog between patients and industry focused on serving unmet needs today and creating better treatments and cures for tomorrow.

We aspire to these goals and practice them daily. We continue to turn away business opportunities that don’t feel right. We do this for the patients who put their trust in us; that if we collect the best data on the patient experience, put the patient squarely in the center of their health decisions, and provide unprecedented insight into this experience for industry, PatientsLikeMe will be wildly successful. Our success is the patient’s success.

PatientsLikeMe member dwilliams