What a patient case study should really reveal
When it comes to patient case studies, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re printed or digital pieces, heavy on clinical detail and light on real patient insight.
Ward6 Senior Medical Writer Mike Smith discusses the agency’s way of doing patient case studies and how they can help reveal fresh insights for your brand and connect with patients in meaningful ways.
What is the Ward6 approach to patient case studies?
“We use patient case studies to bring clinical data to life, by describing what it really means to patients, carers and their families. We look at experiences and meaningful insights to help support other patients on their journeys, including dealing with a diagnosis, treatment and possible side effects. Also, wholistic approaches to help improve mental wellbeing and treatment outcomes.”
Mike explains the agency’s approach of interviewing patients and clinicians. How it captures a multitude of information and insights that may go beyond the initial brief. “Over the years, we’ve developed a pool of interview questions along with a template that arranges questions into themes. We have a wealth of knowledge across a diverse range of therapy areas to draw upon, which allows us to explore additional avenues, delivering valuable answers originally not considered.”
For clinical patient case studies, Mike says the key aim is to go beyond the clinical data and discuss with clinicians their patients’ treatment goals and how these impact on clinical decision making.
What kind of patient insights have you helped reveal when working on patient case studies?
Mike discusses how speaking with patients can help reveal the impact symptoms can have on their day-to-day lives and highlight areas where clients can provide unique patient support. “Speaking with one patient about their gastrointestinal symptoms, I discovered it meant they never took public transport, they never went on holiday and, when they did leave home, they always took a change of clothing and mapped out every public toilet. These types of insights can help inform the design of patient support programs.”
Mike went on further to explain how occasionally there can be disparity between what clinicians consider to be of high importance and what patients value most. He recalls how the insights gained from a series of patient interviews led to a change in how one client communicated their key messages.
“We changed our approach to instead lead with real patient treatment goals, and then introduce clinical data that helped support these. For example, when discussing efficacy for patient X, it meant they were able to see their daughter start school; when discussing administration for patient Y, it meant that they were able to go on a holiday.”
What do you enjoy about the Ward6 way of doing patient case studies?
“I feel proud when we uncover patient insights that help inform how key messages are communicated or how patient support materials are designed. Being able to speak directly to patients, doctors or nurses is quite a privilege. They bring you into their world and give you this invaluable, tangible meaning to clinical data. They’re speaking with you, to help drive better clinical practice or to support other patients in a similar position. I feel trusted with their information and their stories, and I want to communicate them in a way that does them justice and helps make a difference to the experiences of others.”
— Andy Kerr