Medical education is changing. The days of focusing on using data to convince healthcare professionals (HCPs) to prescribe a drug are long gone. We instead face a world of partnership with a focus on efficient services and patient outcomes. Additionally, medical education cannot just focus on HCPs as the sole audience; it must have the patient in mind at all times.
Patient-centricity. Patient voices. Patient involvement. All of healthcare is focused (quite rightly) on involving patients in decision making and improving their outcomes. As a result of this shift in focus on patients, pharmaceutical activities must now always be focused on improving patient outcomes and this extends to medical education.
The question then remains, with a patient focus in mind, how do we utilise medical education to affect a positive change? Within our world, there is much talk, discussion and conjecture about the application of behaviour change theory. Behaviour change tells us that by understanding the psychology of HCPs, information and education can be provided in a particular way, which can enact a change.
We at Aurora do not believe, in the context of prescribing behaviour, that this a correct or sustainable approach to improving patient outcomes. Healthcare is not A to B, it’s a much more complex process, full of human interactions and both conscious and subconscious decisions and we should all be seeking the most effective way to help this process become more efficient. Understanding behaviour is a big part of this; however, we should not seek to change behaviour to suit our own ends, rather help enable a change if it provides benefit for patients, HCPs and the healthcare system.
If there is an innovation with clear patient benefits, companies do have a responsibility to help HCPs understand this innovation. Therefore, while behaviour change may be an outcome, it should not be the aim. We must never lose sight that HCPs are the experts, not us. Additionally, we should remember that HCPs want to use innovative treatments to improve the lives of their patients; they want their patients to have improved outcomes but they may require help to do this.
Understanding the conscious and subconscious behaviours of HCPs allows us to uncover their needs and wants for education. The medical education initiatives we deliver ultimately focus on helping patients get access to innovative medicines. Our teams spend time understanding the complexities and difficulties HCPs face on a daily basis and gain a deep understanding of what information they actually require. We can then provide information and education, which allows HCPs to make the most informed decision possible about a particular innovation and how it may affect their clinical practice.
We understand the science behind the product and brand; we understand people and how they think; we understand HCPs want to prescribe innovative treatments but need access to information and education to have confidence to do this and we have a deep-rooted understanding of the ever-changing healthcare system and its challenges. Bringing all this together, with our own personal commitment to improving patient access to innovation, gives us the expertise to work in true partnership with clients and the clinical community to provide high-class medical education.
At Aurora, we are solely focused on helping patients gain access to innovative medicines. If you are interested in finding out more about how our approach to medical education achieves this and discussing the where medical education goes next, please get in touch.
In our next blog in the medical education series, we will discuss the importance of learning through experience and will then explore how technology can help us push boundaries.
Written by Chris Hall, Account Director. An innovator, STEM subject propagator and Aurora resident Doctor.