Partners in Patient Health: A Look Inside the New Approach to Advocacy at Sanofi US
In late May, Sanofi US invited advocates and advocacy groups to Washington, DC to introduce our new approach to partnering to improve patient health: Partners in Patient Health. This is a very exciting initiative for Sanofi US so I was thrilled to chat with Eric Racine, Vice President of Partners in Patient Health for Sanofi US, and even more so to share the details with you.
Laura: What is Partners in Patient Health?
Eric: Partners in Patient Health (previously Advocacy) is a new approach for Sanofi US to partner with people, communities and organizations across the advocacy community. Our goals are to:
- Enable people to be engaged in their health
- Protect patients’ interests during healthcare change
- Work together to advance science and innovation
Laura: What is the Partners in Patient Health team responsible for on a day-to-day basis and what are your goals?
Eric: My department is accountable for partnerships with patient and health advocates. This involves listening to the needs of patients and then partnering with people, communities and organizations to develop new ways of impacting patient health. My team and I are helping Sanofi US move beyond medicines alone to deliver solutions for patients, as well as accelerating innovations that prevent, treat and cure diseases.
We really have four core goals that are closely aligned with the definition of the Partners in Patient Health program. They are:
1. Gain insights and understanding of patients’ needs across the spectrum of health, disease, science and innovation
2. Collaborate to impact important health policies that benefit patient access and outcomes
3. Accelerate innovation and delivery of health solutions
4. Engage Sanofi US employees when appropriate to work together with patients and advocates to impact patient health
Laura: What were you able to accomplish at the first Partners in Patient Health Forum?
Eric: Sanofi US made a bold statement at the forum. We’re not only talking a new talk, but walking a new walk in the ways we partner to engage people in their healthcare. The forum focused on finding more efficient ways of engaging people. It brought together more than 130 advocates from North America, representing various disease states, consumers, women, senior citizens, minorities, healthcare professionals, caregiver groups, medical associations and organizations seeking to advance science and innovation. These are groups that don’t normally work together. Also, some 60 senior leaders from Sanofi North America Pharmaceuticals, Rare Diseases, Multiple Sclerosis, R&D and Vaccines participated by listening and learning from the patient groups.
At the forum Anne Whitaker, our President of North American Pharmaceuticals, announced the 2012 Collaborate|Active Challenge, a contest to mine new approaches and solutions to engage patients to be active in their health. The Challenge is open to non-profit patient advocacy groups and medical associations with non-profit status and in good standing. Each submission must include at least two groups in order to foster collaboration and hit on solutions only partnerships could deliver. The Challenge will launch on July 23 and all entries must be submitted by August 31.
In announcing the Challenge, Anne summed it up nicely by saying, “You need to have passion, a well-defined purpose, a well-directed plan and it needs to be rewarded.”
Laura: How is Partners in Patient Health different from its predecessor, Advocacy?
Eric: Going from Advocacy to Partners in Patient Health represents a culmination of a process we began in late 2010 to transition from advocacy sponsorships to true partnerships with impact on patient health. We listened and learned something. These problems are too big and complex for any single organization to solve. It requires people, communities and organizations to work together. We also discovered that advocates are willing to work together with Sanofi US employees across the spectrum of health, disease, science and innovation.
Looking back over the last decade, many questioned if the pharmaceutical industry understood how “vital patients are to the acceptance and ‘valuation’ of health-related products and services.” Our response is clear and the voice of the patient resonates within each of our businesses. Today, with Partners in Patient Health, we will work together to improve access and outcomes for patients everywhere.
Laura: What is Partners in Patient Health doing for people impacted by diabetes?
Eric: One example is the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the APhA Foundation’s announcement about a new collaboration to work together and share resources to increase care and outreach to diabetes patients. That’s exciting and it’s a direct result of discussions that began last year at a Partners in Patient Health Diabetes meeting.
As an employee of Sanofi US, it’s so rewarding to see the organization focusing on partnerships and leading initiatives to help people to become, or be more, engaged in their health. Thank you, Eric, for telling us about Partners for Patient Health and leading such a meaningful initiative.
All the best,