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At the forefront of change

Kinga Zapert talks to Nicole Taylor

Nicole Taylor
Director of Global and US Market Research Oncology/Thoracic
Eli Lilly & Co.

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In her role at Eli Lilly, Nicole maintains and utilises a broad cross-functional network to connect people, work and resources.

Kinga Zapert PhD
Managing Partner Health, US
Hall & Partners Health

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As a clinical psychologist, Kinga brings healthcare expertise and methodological rigour to her consulting on behalf of pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Exploring Eli Lilly’s focused journey to patient-centricity

Increasingly, healthcare is embracing patient-centricity, honouring patients’ individual needs and preferences for their care. Global pharmaceutical researcher and manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company has been at the forefront of this movement: long-standing best practices reflect an enduring commitment to making life better for patients and those that serve them.

Lilly has prioritised the role of the patient and focused on their unique needs for nearly a decade. Company initiatives have long been ‘customer-focused’, considering all customers’ unique points of view along the patient’s continuum of care (including health care providers, payers, caregivers and other members of the treatment team). But it’s patients themselves – those who personally make the decision to use their products – that have always been at the forefront for Lilly.

“Understanding our patients deeply is a goal that we take seriously, and we invest in embedding this in our culture”, says Nicole Taylor. “We implement training programmes across our organisation to develop a shared, common understanding of the patient experience that guides everything we do.”

Lilly’s ongoing research into what patients need reveals consistent desires across many types of patients. For example, the majority ultimately seek “good health” and a “fulfilled, balanced life” as they receive care. But different diagnoses result in diverse experiences, and patients with higher-order needs (such as metastatic cancer patients) have distinct hopes and expectations. As Lilly gets to know each carefully segmented patient group more intimately, opportunities to become more patient-centric deepen and multiply.

We want to be sure patients get the outcomes they deserve

“Lilly can play an integral role in helping patients achieve positive outcomes and realise the hopes they have for managing conditions over time”, Nicole noted. “Many patients want to finish taking medications as soon as they can. But we also want to be sure they get the outcomes they deserve – integrating treatments into their lives as key, long-term tools for managing conditions, and enjoying as many good moments as possible with family and friends. With richer understanding of the patient, we’re better equipped to provide the medical solutions and support resources to improve outcomes and their experience throughout their care journey.”

To deliver these patient-centric solutions and resources, Lilly stands ready to embrace change. From re-orienting research approaches to making operational changes, the company is already positioning patients’ lives – not brands – at the centre. This includes analyses of its own competitive landscape. As other researchers and manufacturers make claims to patient-centricity, Lilly wants to assess and compare its own performance-against-promise.

With plans to only increase the volume and variety of insights it collects to drive change, Lilly will also need to exhibit considerable agility. Here too, the company demonstrates nothing but eagerness – and readiness. Acting on key learnings, trying new tactics, and establishing a vibrant feedback loop that leads to ongoing enhancement of the patient experience is Lilly’s game plan.

We start with the patient experience so it can be woven into every aspect of brand planning

“The idea is to transform how we operate – to make this an on-going part of how we do what we do”, Nicole stressed. “We’ve shifted from a brand perspective to a patient perspective. We want to start with the patient experience so it can be woven into every aspect of brand planning, every tactic, every conversation.”

While seismic shifts in business strategy take time, Lilly prides itself on being many miles into its own journey. The company continues to apply its customer-centric initiatives in daily practices: recognising physicians’ desires for collegial dialogue; and re-designing peer-to-peer education efforts to incorporate round-table discussions and networking events. Similar improvements were introduced within call centre employee training: patient experience mapping helps staff align with Lilly’s culture, and understand how to deliver patient-centric service.

“‘Lilly is dedicated to making life better”, Nicole concluded. “We remain committed to delivering on this, and we believe customer understanding is the key to fulfilling that promise.”


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