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6th Annual Patient 360 Summit providing valuable patient insights on personalised healthcare and clinical trial diversity

Publish Date

17 JAN 2023


Terri Stewart


Personalised healthcare and clinical trial diversity are foundational to ensuring patients receive the best care, but also that such care applies to and can be accessed by all. That is why these two pillars were the focus of our latest Patient 360 Summit.

The discussions and unparalleled insight will be pivotal as we refine how we personalise our approach to patient needs and diversity and inclusion in clinical trial strategy.

Personalised healthcare and clinical trial diversity are necessarily well-discussed within the healthcare industry. Though they are separate pillars with their own unique challenges, they ultimately ladder up to the same point: helping patients receive better access to medicines as a route to equitable and improved health outcomes. Despite being a priority for many, we are still a long way from realising this as a universal truth that meaningfully impacts patients’ lives. However, to shape initiatives that bring us closer to this reality, we must first accurately capture patient’s changing needs, including the challenges to overcome.

To spark the conversation and advance our ambition of becoming a patient-directed healthcare company, we facilitated our sixth annual Patient 360° Summit Meeting in October 2022, bringing together 19 patients and patient organisation representatives from around the world. The occasion is a precious opportunity for us to listen to patients and advocates to understand their health needs and challenges, and provides an invaluable opportunity for our colleagues and representatives from patient communities to come together to engage in conversations that will promote beneficial change.

From this meeting, it emerged that while positive trends are materialising across the healthcare industry there remains a disproportionate burden on patients to proactively improve their healthcare. When patients are engaged, it is often too late or seemingly in name only. More broadly, there was a sense of evolving progress across the healthcare industry that has not fully delivered on its promise to benefit patients, whether in access to personalised healthcare or genuine diversity in clinical trials. The reasons for this shortfall are complex and multifaceted – ranging from infrastructural and financial issues limiting access to clinical trial sites to impenetrable communications, which are often Anglo-centric.

Our challenge as a company, and our promise to patients, is to internalise and act on this feedback. Specifically, over the next year and beyond, we will seek to:

  • Ensure communications are accessible and understandable across different geographies, and working in collaboration with patient organizations to improve knowledge of crucial developments in research and aid in shared decision-making.
  • Seek patient input even earlier across the spectrum of our R&D and associated output to capture and report meaningful patient-reported outcomes as defined by them
  • Look deeper into how we find a sustainable way to build relationships with diverse communities

When it comes to personalised healthcare and patient diversity, it is time to shift the narrative from ‘evolving’ to ‘evolved’. That is, it is time to action the conversations and for patients and their family carers to genuinely feel that the healthcare industry has finally delivered on its promise. We can help by continuing to empower patients to direct us through initiatives like the Patient 360 Summit. Only with this unique insight can we make tangible and long-lasting healthcare improvements.

As always, I would like to extend a special thank you on behalf of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to all patients and patient advocates who attended this year’s Summit. We can only make this event a reality with thanks to you, and we are deeply appreciative of your time.

Together, we help to create, improve and prolong lives - as one for patients.