Oxford PharmaGenesis highlights patient centricity in publication practice: report from TIPPA's 15th Annual Meeting

07 March 2016

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Multiple aspects of HealthScience – including rare diseases, real-world evidence, and health economics and outcomes research – were major topics for discussion at the 15th Annual Meeting of The International Publication Planning Association (TIPPA) last week, sponsored by Oxford PharmaGenesis. The meeting, held in San Diego on 29 February–1 March 2016, was attended by a roughly even mix of pharmaceutical company publications managers and communications agencies, with several major publishing groups also exhibiting. The Oxford PharmaGenesis exhibition stand was manned primarily by Gordon Muir-Jones, Executive Vice-President of our Philadelphia office, and was busy throughout the event – much interest was generated by our Queen’s Award banner, and by reprints of our recent BMJ Open article on the impact of professional medical writing support on the completeness of clinical trial reporting.

On the first afternoon, our Commercial Director Richard White and Mary Beth DeYoung (AstraZeneca) jointly delivered a keynote presentation on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and the importance of patient centricity in publication practice. PROs are increasingly required by regulators, payers and clinicians to demonstrate the value of new healthcare interventions, and patients themselves are more informed and requesting more information on their medical care than ever before. Drawing on Oxford PharmaGenesis’ extensive experience in the publication and communication of PROs, Richard gave an introduction to the field for the publications professional, using analogies to explain some of the terminology and to illustrate best practice in communicating patient outcomes. Mary Beth, who is currently a Global Publications Lead at AstraZeneca, expanded upon ways in which publications managers could be patient centric in their role, bringing fascinating insights from her own experience.

“Oxford PharmaGenesis is at the forefront of communicating the patient perspective, whether through communicating PRO data, creating training programmes and workshops, or developing materials such as patient lay summaries,” said Richard. “It was wonderful to present on this subject at TIPPA, and for our presentation to be so well received and stimulate such debate. The fact that several companies have already asked if I could reprise the presentation for their internal medical teams, shows how important the issue of patient centricity has become.”

Other sessions at TIPPA covered subjects ranging from the impact of forthcoming clinical trial data-sharing initiatives, through publication planning for biosimilars and authorship issues on multi-national clinical trial papers. A session on current experience with the ‘Sunshine Act’ included the results of a survey of 28 companies on their reporting of Transfers of Value (ToV) related to providing medical writing support for authors. The results showed no consensus in what sort of articles (if any) should be subject to ToV declarations, or how and when the sum for ToV should be calculated; this remains a thorny topic.

Two separate presentations at the meeting covered the potential role of social media in raising awareness of key publications. Discussions around this topic showed that there remains considerable wariness among pharmaceuticals companies of the legal and regulatory ramifications associated with communications that can directly reach patients, with most companies not engaging in social media activities related to publications. There was broad agreement, however, over the importance of evaluating the wider impact of publications beyond citations – for example, through altmetrics and other measures of article reach – and Oxford PharmaGenesis was able to highlight our own success in generating interest in our recent BMJ Open article.TIPPA_2016