Feature Stories

Understanding the Patient and Caregiver Journey – Astellas’ Second Annual PCE

Mar 6, 2019

This article was originally posted on Astellas’ Patient Advocacy site, Change Together.

The second annual Astellas Patient and Caregiver Event (PCE), which saw employees 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, Astellas Americas President Percival Barretto-Ko 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 internal employee volunteer group.

“The event helped employees gain a deeper understanding of patients and caregivers’ needs. Attendees were asked to put themselves in the shoes of the people they serve,” said Suzanne Johnson, Associate Director of Patient Experience. “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 the Patient" presented the key findings from an immersive experience pilot, which aimed to give employees 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.

Employees also 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 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.

“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?” said Zeiher.

For the company to truly understand the patient voice and tackle unmet need, Barretto-Ko added that it is important for employees to “pause” and think about the reason they do what they do.

Watch a video recap of the event below, and check out other articles from the week focused on employees’ personal stories as both patients and caregivers.