At Roche, training is helping to make #patientengagement a central part of all discussions across the organisation, says Sanja Njegic, Dr. Pharm, Global Head of Patient Partnership and Séverine Wollenschneider PhD, Senior Patient Partnership Director

Putting patient engagement at the heart of a large company requires leadership and ongoing commitment. For Roche, providing teams with the skills and know-how is essential. More than 4,000 associates have already completed PE Training and thousands more have signed up to modules in the months ahead. We spoke to Sanja Njegic,  Global Head of Patient Partnership, and Séverine Wollenschneider, Senior Patient Partnership Director at F. Hoffmann La-Roche 

How is Roche embracing patient engagement? 

Patient engagement is a mindset across the entire Roche organisation, local and global teams. We need to understand what good patient engagement looks like from the patient perspective. Therefore the co-created training is the key. 

The ownership of patient engagement is in the hands of each associate; it is the remit of the Global Patient Partnership team to provide tools and support patient engagement through being the primary relationship manager for patient communities across the globe. PFMD and other training initiatives have supported creating awareness of the importance of value-based patient partnership. 

How does the training initiative support capacity building in PE in your organisation?

We are mindful of how important it is to develop and strengthen the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources around patient engagement. We aim to support colleagues across the organisation in how best to adapt and thrive in a fast-changing patient engagement world.

We aim to make patient engagement a central part of all discussions within the organisation. That then assists in building trusted partnerships, which aim to co-create and bring mutual value in patient partnership.

As the conversation around patient engagement is now at the forefront of our business, we need to continue to have training that both develops and maintains the patient engagement awareness and skill across the organisation.

How have you implemented/delivered the training in Roche?  

It has been a great success and a very encouraging engagement; this demonstrates the commitment of our colleagues to the critical and real value of patient partnership. Internal communications, in combination with other educational offerings, is at the heart of the mindset change. With patient engagement training, we are seeking a unified standard across not only Roche but the entire industry through co-creating with patient organisations.

The delivery to training has advanced and changed over time. The new normal is to train via web-based training, and this allows greater flexibility which is necessary and for sure has led to a significant uptake by our associates across the globe.

How have colleagues responded to the training? 

There was a two-stage rollout firstly in March 2020, and further invitations sent in May 2020. The training has been very well perceived. To date over 4,000 colleagues have taken the training in 2020, and more than 6,800 have registered for the training already. 

Virtual training has allowed the rollout of unified training across the entire organization and industry. The standard practices are vital to bringing an informed and united message on placing patients at the centre and demonstrates that everything we do for patients, we do with patients as partners along the way.

Has the training supported their PE work in practice? 

The PFMD training is of great value in providing a useful introduction to our associates who have not had the opportunity to engage or understand how to begin to develop a conversation around patient engagement and integrate the patient perspective into everything we do in a compliant way. The training is both straightforward and informative and goes towards our idea of creating awareness, education, and shifting the mindset to one of partnering with patients every step of the way. 

Internally we are engaging and integrating patient partnership on both a strategic and process level supporting the organisation to embed patient perspective across the value chain. We collaborate with Patient Organisations across the globe from the very early stages of R&D aiming to co-create mutual value and support shaping of patient centred health care systems. 

Why is it important to deliver the training to people who do not work directly in PE roles?

There is a real need for collaboration to move healthcare forward at all levels. We understand early, and systematic integration of the patient’s perspective is key to creating the highest value. For associates across the globe to undertake these actions, they require examples that clearly and simply demonstrate best practice in PE. With this type of training, they can now understand the impact created by involving patients. If we are to have an industry-wide patient-first mindset, then this type of training developed in collaboration with both internal and external partners is essential.

How has company leadership supported the training?  

There has been universal support for this valuable training at all levels of our organisation. Our leadership gave their full support to treating patients as partners, as they have been at the forefront in developing and implementing this philosophy. 

For their part, our associates are making this philosophy a reality by developing lasting value-based partnership that makes this paradigm shift at Roche and across the entire pharmaceutical industry.