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In the first year of medical school, future medics are taught in their clinical practice training to make use of the mnemonic acronym SOCRATES in dealing with pain assessment in their case studies and in practising on the ward. The acronym stands for the following:
Site – Where is the pain?
Onset – When did the pain start, and has it been progressive or regressive?
Character – What is the pain like? Dull? Stabbing?
Radiation – Does the pain radiate to other bodily parts?
Associations – Any other signs or symptoms associated with the pain?
Time course – Does the pain follow any pattern?
Exacerbating – Does anything change the pain?
Severity – How bad is the pain? Can the patient grade it from 1 to 10?
Understanding truly what is the nature of the patient’s pain is part and parcel of the patient journey, and at i3 Consult we believe that this information should relay all the through to the market access efforts of pharma? In these days of patient centricity of the healthcare profession, shouldn’t the companies who actually innovate, develop and supply the medicines be also focusing more on the patient journey, and therefore would this not also have positive knock effects for holistic quality healthcare provision?
Pharma may perceive these questions as beyond their remit but no doubt they deserve consideration given that the patient journey is an indispensable tool in devising action plans for patient treatment, implementing support programmes and in communicating the potential benefits and contraindications of the medicine during the post licensing phase. By pharma having first hand knowledge of the ‘patient journey’, it will reveal all the realistic yet unpredictable factors and hurdles at a much earlier stage of development, rather than the ‘rose coloured glasses’ view of a patient following treatment guidelines in perfect circumstances.