Insights from a Within3 client session were recently published in BMC Ophthalmology, a peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of the prevention, diagnosis, and management of eye disorders, as well as related molecular genetics, pathophysiology, and epidemiology. In this specific example, the authors examine how virtual engagement technology enhances patient-HCP interactions around diseases and conditions.
The article, “Living with presbyopia: experiences from a virtual roundtable dialogue among impacted individuals and healthcare professionals,” includes details of a structured discussion for Novartis that took place on the Within3 virtual engagement platform. Nine individuals with presbyopia and two HCPs took part, viewing resources such as patient materials from the National Institutes of Health and general background presentations on presbyopia by HCPs directly within the platform. The session moderator was an independent communications professional who did not take part in the discussion, but had access to patient responses and could provide clarification or ask for additional information where appropriate.
The discussion’s virtual nature allowed global participation – including patients from Australia, China, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, and the US – and revealed more information about the patient experience of living with presbyopia. One point that emerged during the discussion was the patients’ feeling that presbyopia is often associated with the natural aging process, which could reduce the incentive to treat the condition. Further, patients said that typical symptomatic treatments like reading glasses and bifocals were a daily burden that didn’t fit in with how they preferred to live their daily lives.
The innovative meeting format illustrated the value of interactive discussions between people with healthcare issues and specialist physicians. Patients and physicians alike have a large number of conflicting demands on their time, but as a virtual meeting, both groups were able to join the discussion at their own convenience.
The roundtable discussion demonstrated the need for HCPs and those living with presbyopia to take the condition seriously with an action-oriented view toward better therapies in the future. The virtual format may find future use as a tool to counter the panel’s expressed lack of informed dialogue between patients and HCPs about conditions and therapeutic options.