Something I heard yesterday (Thursday 25 January) at the PM Society meeting – Patient Engagement a real world snapshot, beyond the talk – stuck in my mind. Mark Duman (Patient and NW Service Champion, Diabetes UK) gave body parts a new meaning…

He said we had two ears and one mouth for a reason. What he was highlighting – and what was for me a red thread throughout the meeting – was the need to begin patient engagement (PE) with listening. Listening to people affected by or coping with a particular condition to truly understand what they need and how best to intervene. So, listening before talking.

This resonates with one of PFMD’s campaigns – the Pledge to Patients. The Pledge starts with Listening, then Co-creation and Communication. To date 601 commitments to Listen, Co-create and Communicate have been promised – they make for motivational reading and a reminder of what individuals can do in their every day work to make a difference and to collectively move the needle in PE, whatever their role or seniority.

The PM Society meeting was an opportunity to share experience through specific case studies and we heard from Deborah Wyatt (talkhealth) and Toby Cobbledick (MoInlycke Health Care) about their patient support programmes for people living with eczema – focusing on children with eczema and their parents or primary carers. Poignantly, they were to have been joined by the mother of a child with eczema, but the current state of the child’s condition prevented mum from attending – a reminder of the challenges some face with what many of us take for granted as a routine activity.

Guy Yeoman (formerly AstraZeneca, now founder of MediPaCe) spoke about patient centricity and pointed out the “mismatch between rhetoric and reality” and walking the walk. We also had an engaging glimpse into the world of compliance (Jayne Packham, Jayne Packham Consultancy) peppered with real-world examples of what works and what can go spectacularly wrong.

The case study – Travel with IBD UK Campaign (presented by Audrey Liechti [Takeda UK] and Andy McGuinness [Crohn’s and Colitis UK]) – was another highlight. The campaign shows what can be done when stakeholders come together with a common purpose and a determination to do something tangible that impacts the lives of many with a particular condition. Something as simple as access to toilet facilities – including disabled toilets – when out and about without being questioned or harassed to help remove one more barrier from living a normal life. Importantly the focus of the campaign was in response to a priority need identified by people living with the condition – a need identified by listening…

Overall – a valuable meeting – not just to share and learn from practical experience but a reminder of why getting PE right is so important.

Access here the SYNaPsE poster presented at the PM Society meeting.