Pharmacist Anne-Lise Ducournau Lichtenberg explains what the PFMD How-To module on Capacity Building is and why it is essential that every actor in the patient engagement ecosystem can access relevant and up-to-date educational content to foster better collaboration on medicine development.

The PFMD How-To Module for Capacity Building is a repository of training, education and capacity-building materials on patient engagement and pharmaceutical product development. Co-created by a wide array of experts working across the patient engagement (PE) landscape, including patient association representatives, pharmaceutical industry, and academia, this repository will serve as the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to accessing worldwide educational material on these topics. All the database content has been identified and reviewed by the working group to ensure it is up-to-date and relevant.

As a qualified pharmacist with several years of experience developing new products for the pharmaceutical industry,  Anne-Lise Ducournau Lichtenberg strongly believes in the power of education to enhance patient engagement outcomes. As such, she is also involved in the development of the PFMD Patient Engagement online training to raise the pharmaceutical industry’s awareness of the need for meaningful patient engagement, as well as its value at each stage of the pharmaceutical product development process. 

“There is a lot of material available online. If a patient wants to learn more about patient engagement or pharmaceutical product development in general, it is not easy to decide what is appropriate for their needs. The PFMD database is here to help to target relevant content,” she explains.

Being passionate about health and education, Ducournau Lichtenberg said she found the idea of developing a comprehensive repository of available training content and educational material “very appealing”. 

“Patients and everyone involved along the value chain need to access relevant content and proactively build up a common language. The PFMD database is looking to deliver this promise. Clarifying the target audience for this platform has been critical,” she notes.

Indeed, for constructive patient engagement activities to occur, it is important that everyone involved has a common foundation and equal access to shared knowledge. 

Efficient co-creation in the patient engagement sphere cannot be limited to just patients and pharma, Ducournau Lichtenberg says. “A holistic approach involving all healthcare actors is the key to success, from HCPs to academia, patient associations, regulators, pharmaceutical industry, and others,” she explains. 

The database was designed to ensure that each person wishing to access educational content can identify on the platform the relevant training for his/her needs. It contains links to material developed by the FDA and other national agencies, as well as EUPATI, Eurordis, various universities, projects such as TransCelerate, and many more. “The team worked to align on the appropriate search items such as description, target audience, cost, language, duration or level as well as the overall design of the database to make it as user friendly as possible, always keeping the end-user in mind,” adds Ducournau Lichtenberg.  

The specific How To module on Capacity Building will also incorporate, amongst others, the e-learning training on patient engagement recently developed by PFMD. “E-learning is just booming right now as it is such a flexible learning solution. These days, people want to access relevant knowledge quickly, so you need to make your e-learning very catchy with lots of compelling content,” notes Ducournau Lichtenberg.

 Given the full range of experts involved in co-creation, objectivity is a critical element of the How-To modules; Ducournau Lichtenberg praises PFMD for enabling this. “I think it is essential that PFMD remains objective, and represents the voice of each actor in parallel to providing a 360 view of the patient engagement world. While everyone in the working group approached the topic differently, we quickly managed to work with efficiency. It has been a pleasure to take part in a truly collaborative work where everyone met on the same level,” says Ducournau Lichtenberg.

The PFMD database on education and training materials will be available in the coming weeks. It remains, for now, a work in progress as the group seeks to refine a tool that will, no doubt, be widely employed across the PE ecosystem.