Creating Deeper Connections With Patient Ambassador Programs
It’s no secret that “patient centricity” has transformed from an obscure ideal to a business imperative for any healthcare company hoping to keep up with evolving industry standards. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that have emerged as patient-focused leaders, particularly in the rare diseases space, do so by positioning patients and care partners as primary stakeholders and investing in multifaceted patient engagement.
By replacing the guesswork of “What do patients want?” with authentic conversations, ambassador programs are a meaningful way to bridge the gap between pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and the communities they serve.
Ambassador programs are an opportunity for those living with an identified disease state, their families, and their care partners to formally develop and share their personal and unique experiences with other members of the community. These programs assist in raising awareness and provide a greater degree of connection with other patients and care partners as they navigate their own journeys.
Benefits of Ambassador Programs
Identity: Ambassadors have the opportunity to share their lived experiences and be seen as individuals beyond their disease state. By sponsoring these programs, companies demonstrate a people-focused ethos.
Connection: Patients and care partners may not know other people with their diagnosis outside of their family but are looking to connect with others and foster a community where no one feels alone. Ambassador programs can facilitate authentic connections and bolster loyalty to the company as it helps build community relationships.
Education: Particularly in the rare diseases space, patients and care partners actively seek information to understand their diagnosis and what to expect as their disease state progresses. By sharing their experiences, ambassadors may expand awareness to drive earlier diagnosis in others, highlight symptoms to motivate patients to proactively seek out treatment options, and, in branded programs, promote awareness of certain products. Sponsorship of educational resources positions companies as trusted partners for disease state and treatment information.
Support: Ambassadors help keep other patients and care partners informed about treatment and care options so they can feel empowered with resources for shared decision-making. For branded programs, this may also include resources for access and adherence. Facilitating an understanding of their disease state is a crucial way to help patients and care partners live optimally with the condition.
Recruitment & Identification: After defining the characteristics of an “ideal ambassador” and determining eligibility requirements, companies can launch recruitment efforts that identify patients and care partners whose journeys align with their overall messaging and tactical goals.
Story Development & Training: Ambassadors share their stories, which are developed into compliance-reviewed talking points in the ambassador’s authentic voice for use during engagements. They are also educated on key compliance considerations and provided the resources needed to share their stories as a representative of the company.
Deployment: Companies maintain ongoing communication with ambassadors to collaborate on authentic and credible content, which creates momentum behind existing messaging.
Ambassador programs recenter patients and caregivers at the heart of healthcare by amplifying authentic voices, real stories, and lived experiences. They allow pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to engage with communities early and often, incorporating patient and caregiver insights as early as the clinical trial design stage through to post-launch adherence strategies.