"The growing role of patient engagement in the medicines evaluation process is one of the key drivers to improving access - and patient advocates have much to contribute," commented clinical expert Professor Ken Paterson, Former Chair, Scottish Medicines Consortium. "By helping ensure patients have a voice, it’s a win for the healthcare system, a win for the HTA process and most importantly, a win for patients."
Patients have unique knowledge about what it's like to live with an illness, the possible limitations of existing treatments and the potential of new therapies. However, ensuring that patients' experiences are considered can be challenging in an environment where decisions are scientifically based.
"It's absolutely crucial that patient advocates understand the medicine development and HTA processes. Advocates can then make a more robust contribution to the medicines evaluation discussion and be accepted as an equal and knowledgeable stakeholder in healthcare decisions," said Kathy Oliver, Co-director for the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA). "eMEET is a great resource. It’s easily accessible online, you can learn at your own pace, and it's an enjoyable and valuable educational tool."
eMEET uses a variety of tools, such as video presentations, animations and exercises to show how patients' experiences can be integrated into these complex processes. The programme helps patient advocates ensure, in the most productive and meaningful way, that their input to the medicines evaluation process successfully highlights patient issues, informs decision-making and aligns with the scientific evidence.
"Evidence from patients can help us understand the challenges associated with current therapies and what they would want from new treatments," said Dr. Karen Facey, HTAi Interest Group for Patient/Citizen involvement in HTA. "This can help us put the scientific evidence into context and understand the true value of a treatment."
The eMEET training programme is presented in modules focused on:
1. Introduction and scene-setting - the true value of the patient voice
2. The journey of a medicine- the complex process of medicines discovery, development and evaluation
3. An introduction to HTA
4. HTA in practice- an illustration of the complexities of health technology assessment
5. Patient advocacy group participation in HTA - how to engage effectively to ensure that HTA panels understand patients’ needs and preferences
eMEET is the online component of the broader MEET programme. Translated into multiple languages, MEET was developed as an interactive one-day training workshop designed to help patient advocacy group leaders understand and engage in the journey of a medicine, including: clinical trials, regulatory evaluation and HTA. eMEET does not focus on any specific disease state. MEET and eMEET are part of the advocacy component of PACE (Patient Access to Cancer care Excellence), a Lilly Oncology initiative. For more information, please visit http://www.meetforpatients.com.
According to Health Technology Assessment International's "HTAi Patient and Consumer Glossary," health technology assessment is the "systematic evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and/or cost-effectiveness and/or the social and ethical impact of a health technology" (such as a medicine) "on the lives of patients and the healthcare system." Its aim is to educate healthcare policymakers. HTA organisations, such as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in the United Kingdom, recommend whether a specific health technology should be used, and if so, in which setting and for which patients. According to the glossary, "assessments vary, but most look at the health benefits and risks of using the technology. They also look at costs and any wider impacts that the technology might have on a population or on society."(2)
Created by Lilly Oncology as a global collaboration spanning diverse sectors, PACE (Patient Access to Cancer care Excellence) exists to encourage public policies and healthcare decisions that speed the development of new medicines, assure cancer treatments respond to the needs and qualities of individual patients, and improve patient access to the most effective cancer medicines. PACE is engaging key oncology stakeholders: patients, advocacy, payers, policymakers, providers, the public, researchers and politicians.
About Lilly Oncology
For more than fifty years, Lilly has been dedicated to delivering life-changing medicines and support to people living with cancer and those who care for them. Lilly is determined to build on this heritage and continue making life better for all those affected by cancer around the world.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.
1. Health Technology Assessment International. What is HTAi? Available at http://www.htai.org/index.php?id=428. Accessed 21 March 2014.
2. Health Technology Assessment International. HTAi Patient and Consumer Glossary: A beginner’s guide to words used in health technology assessment. October 2009. Available at http://www.ihe.ca/documents/HTAiPatientAndConsumerGlossaryOctober2009_01.pdf. Accessed 21 March 2014.